More and more people who want to get away, get their hands dirty and get smarter about organic lifestyles are arranging their vacations through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (www.wwoof.org). The organization publishes online lists of organic farms and gardeners that welcome help. In a typical arrangement, visitors work half a day in exchange for room and board, which varies from a meal and a tent to individual rooms or trailers.
The program, begun in the U.K. in 1971, had only 500 U.S. member volunteers in 2003. Today there are 3,200—and more than 700 American host farms from which to choose. WWOOFers now also participate in projects such as land restoration and animal husbandry. Most volunteers opt to live on a farm for a few days, but some may stay a month or more.
Ryan “Leo” Goldsmith, WWOOF-USA administrator and founding board member, says the rapid growth stems in part from an interest in “local, cheap vacation options that include good-feeling work outdoors.” Some people are serious about wanting to train to be farmers, but most want to “get more involved with the movement toward local and sustainable agriculture.”