by Judy Jean Kwon
I am staying on a pineapple farm while we are building our off-the-grid self-sustaining farm and I learned about woofers!
No, it's not a wolf! or a dog's bark.
These are folks that come to help out on farms in exchange of room and board.
Woof is short for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farm.
Most of the woofers I have met are young and white.
Some of them are in transition and taking time off college to travel, some of them are learning how to farm, and some are folks that fled middle-America to come to - well, paradise!
I wish I knew of this when I was twenty! How exciting and fun.
They average about 4 hours of work a day and they seem to form a tight community.
Sweating together with your hands in the ground, farming, is a sure way to bond.
They get to learn about farming and be one with the earth.
The woofers on the farm I am staying seem happy with time to go to the beach for an afternoon surf.
There's even a baseball game every Friday afternoons where all the woofers from other farms also join and they have a great time.
However, I could imagine if you ended up on a farm with bad hosts, it could quickly turn into a nightmare but that is something you can avoid by knowing other woofers. The woofers share these and other information so it is also vital that you treat your woofers right.
I also think if you are working a minimum wage or close to minimum wage job in the big city with no children to take care of, this would be a great option to get out of the system. Or if you have a kid that needs to get in touch with the earth and learn what it means to work hard for your food, why not?
Woofing is national venture and not just on the Hawaiian islands.