Feature = World Tourism Day = Tourism & Community Development = WWOOFing it Up in Kiwiland: 2 years volunteering on organic farms and travelling in New Zealand
|Reflections = Tramping in Nelson, NZ|
Knowledge is power; a cardinal truth in Community Development, both locally and globally. This truth has defined my last 2 years living and volunteering on organic farms around New Zealand, also known as, WWOOFing - WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms. ‘Wwoofers’ can access a database where they can find organic growers to ‘host’ them from a day to months, and even years. Furthermore, it's sustainable...
|Sunrise in the valley, Phytofarm Herbal Learning Garden, Little River, NZ|
|Heritage carrots, Phytofarm|
|Passion flowers, Phytofarm|
Economically, it’s a win-win arrangement for both parties. Busy hosts have enthusiastic, willing (and usually young and energetic) workers to get the work done, and strapped for cash WWOOFers can travel indefinitely, knowing that they have their labour as a guarantee of food and a bed for the night. Hosts have social and professional networks in tourism that WWOOFers can access, often leading to ‘mates rates’ discounts on costly tourist rates and knowing of the best places to go for almost anything. And if the host doesn’t know; they know someone who does! Sometimes, it’s simply joining in on the weekly family fishing trip on the lake or tramp at the National Park.
|Avalanche = like organic community development; it's unstoppable|
Rob Roy Glacier, Mt. Aspiring National Park, NZ
Environmentally, Mother Earth must be nodding her head with approval. Passionate hosts have a need to share their livelihoods and expertise, and committed WWOOFers can learn about organics from the University of Life, instead of from books! WWOOFing promotes environmental stewardship on local and global scales. On my journey, I have found an extended family, made fond memories, and gained a practical education in the growing of organic produce using permaculture and biodynamic principles.
|Rosehips; used to make oil|
It’s been an enriching experience and it’s exceeded all my expectations. I have a greater sense of well-being and better health from a mainly organic diet. I have reconnected with natural ancient ways of cooking, gardening, home and personal care, and home building. I have WWOOFed at an olive grove, beekeepers, food forest garden, herbal learning farm and adobe mud brick builders and learned to trust in the generosity of strangers; those friends I’ve still to meet. I’m really going to miss WWOOFing in New Zealand.
Fortunately, ‘WWOOFing’ is a worldwide movement and I’ve already heard on the organic grapevine the best places to WWOOF in the Pacific Islands. Next stop: organic coffee farm on Tonga, and maybe some swimming with the sperm whales ;)
|Dawn mist rising; beginning our day's work, Renwick, NZ|