After years of growing on my own, it was with some hesitance that I decided to create a wwoofing account to add more workers to the farm. Wwoofing stands for world-wide opportunities on organic farms and is a platform for connecting organic farms with workers who, in exchange for room, board and education, work about 20-30 hours a week on the farm.
Moving from working alone on the farm, to suddenly having two to five people working with you during a three-month period is not easy. In my case, a big part of the attraction of the peasant lifestyle was to get away from a hectic life as a manager constantly dealing with interpersonal conflicts, training, meetings, and power struggles. To then move ever so slightly back in the direction of what I had finally escaped from was not without its tradeoffs.
However, having decided that we needed to finally start growing outdoors and having added a two-wheel tractor and a caravan to the infrastructure of the farm, meant that it was practically impossible for me to manage the physical labor without more hands.
Despite being extremely lucky with the three wwoofers, it took about a month before I felt that things started to flow a bit naturally. This is not surprising on a farm with the level of complexity that ours has.
Being regenerative, we have a slew of soil management techniques that needed to be learned and followed. Then there is the fact that we have a huge diversity of plants with odd names that people have not heard of. Then there is the fact that we are focused on seed saving, adding another level of complexity.
The learning curve was steep, and by the end of the season the two wwoofers who stayed with us the entire three months had even taken on responsibility to train two new wwoofers. Reproducing knowledge and seeds is what it’s all about in the end, so this was a happy ending for the season of wwoofers which came in late August. The overall season does not end in August, and luckily several other wwoofers have come to spend a few days at a time during the hectic harvest and seed saving month of September.
Reflecting over the pros and cons, I can conclude that I will absolutely continue with wwoofing next year. However, I dream of finding a person or a few persons who would like to become more of a part of the farm long-term. I have always dreamt of having a tiny house on the farm with another couple who could become a more integral part of the team. I believe deeply in the permaculture principle of stacking functions and see a farm with just one family as a wasted set of opportunities. I can imagine a couple who have carpentry skills, mushroom, chicken, fruit tree, bee keeping skills as a great synergy to what is already happening on the farm around seeds and vegetables.
If you or someone you know could possibly fit and are looking for property to put down roots but cannot afford to buy, please do apply for the 2022 season. If we have a great season and you become a part of the ecology of the farm, we can look at a partnership for the years to come. I am looking forward to how the farm will include more sentient beings and move toward a stacked integration of animal, plant, fungi, and human life that forms a strong web of ecological interactions.
Here is my Wwoof profile for those who want to apply.
Here are two videos from early and late in the season.