Natasha Campbell-McBride is a WWOOF UK host with a 28 acre regenerative farm in East Anglia. Natasha is also medical doctor and a writer, with several published titles on the concept of GAPS – Gut And Psychology Syndrome & Gut And Physiology Syndrome – theories on the relationship between the state of the person’s digestive system and the health of the rest of the body.
We asked Natasha if she would write a little something about her connection with WWOOF and how it is woven into her life.
The message for WWOOF
Many people in the world today are concerned about the health of our magnificent Planet, and quite rightly so. Industrial agriculture has done and is doing immeasurable damage to the planet Earth, claiming that they are ‘feeding the world’. But the truth is very different: some 85% of humanity is not fed by industrial agriculture. Instead, it is fed by small scale organic farming! A real farm has animals and birds, which range free and graze on natural pasture. They create the top soil – the most precious part of Nature – where all life begins and all life ends. Soil is a complex web of life (microbial and larger), just as complex and amazing as life on Earth itself. Industrial arable agriculture is destroying top soil on the planet at an alarming rate, destroying the very basis of life on our planet.
But Nature is immensely resilient! No matter how much humanity damages it, Nature is working relentlessly to reverse the damage and heal the land. Nine years ago, when we first bought our farm, it was an industrial wasteland created by decades of chemical ‘farming’. There was no soil, only clay and stones. After just nine years of regenerative farming – rotational grazing of animals, no-dig gardening, free-ranging of birds and natural bee-keeping – this land has turned into a paradise. Through WWOOF, more than a hundred volunteers from all over the world came and helped us to do this work, while learning how to milk goats and cows, how to look after pigs, chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks and bees. They learn how to grow vegetables and fruit in a way that builds and improves soil, making it more and more fertile. They learn how to live and thrive with Mother Nature, helping it to heal the land while producing plenty of nourishing food.
Every volunteer brings his or her life story – a whole individual universe – to our community. Humans are creators, creating their own lives while affecting everything around. Every person is wonderful and precious in their own way, with their dreams and aspirations, their problems and questions, and their life quest and life journey. Nature is where the truth lives! Immersing oneself into Nature, being in constant contact with soil, animals, birds, bees and plants transforms us, makes us better and kinder human beings, more loving, more caring, more open and deeper thinking. We have seen beautiful transformations in our volunteers. After spending time with us, they depart as different human beings, than they were when they arrived. Many have pledged that they want to create their own regenerative farms or small holdings. This is music to our ears, because the more real organic farms and small holdings there are in the world, the more hope our Planet has! No scale is too small: a small holding, a city garden, a small apiary, even a roof garden or a balcony garden will make a difference. If every human being turned their lawn into a meadow with wild flowers and vegetable beds, if every human being started growing at least some of their own food, and, if every human being did it with love and respect for Nature, this world will be transformed into a paradise. And, most importantly, these human beings will be transformed!
‘The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings!’ This is the message left to the world by one of the founders of regenerative agriculture, Masanobu Fukuoka. Cultivation and perfection of human beings is what WWOOF ultimately does!
Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, creator of the GAPS Nutritional Protocol