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Featured Resources Photos My Wwoofing Experience Thus Far

Discussion in 'Alternative Housing' started by stukovthetuna, Jan 15, 2017.

  1. stukovthetuna

    stukovthetuna Celebrated Poster
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    Well it has been a long time coming, but it's time that I finally write out my experiences with wwoofing. Wwoofing is loaded program, filled with wingnuts and kickass people alike. I
    would recommend it as probably one of the best hostel programs in the states, but I would also recommend doing it with a friend so you don't get trapped in a bogus situation by yourself. I've done it alone (excluding my brief first farm), but if I had to choose I'd rather do it with a friend. I'm in no way an expert on wwoof but think I've learned a bit on how to spot decent farms and I think that's worth sharing.

    1) Killer Brookheaven Farm

    In November of 2012, when I first heard of wwoof from a radio ecoshock interview with Guy McPerson, I was ready to quit my carts job at stop & shop and get involved. I signed up in 2012 (I believe its $30 for 1 year, $40 for 1 year plus a handbook of all the listed farms of that year) and found a local farm on LI in Brookhaven. Me and my ex eventually went down there to volunteer for a weekend and it was great. We spent those days picking tomatoes and peppers, most of their produce goes to restaurants in NYC. The farm had about 7-10 archers, growing pretty much anything you could think of, kale, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, pumpkin, cucumbers, etc. I didn't actually stay on this farm, but the people who did were of familiar character. Everyone there at the time were punks or old hippies, I remember talking about the bands Bread and Roses and Defiance Ohio, general political banter, and the growing methods they used. They told us also of a harvest fest they threw in October that sounded really awesome, it was a shame we didn't get wind of wwoof till after it. After the second day of volunteering they hooked us up with what I would guess was $140 worth of organic produce. From last I checked this farm is no longer listed, nor do I remember the name or really its location other than it being in Brookhaven, NY. I give this farm a 5/5 for great company, direction, insight, and hooking us up with more than we actually put into helping, that really said a lot about them.

    2) Nightmare Macon Farm

    IMG_20121218_084311.

    After visiting the Brookhaven farm I was sold and naively believed this to be how all farms were. Fuck me for how wrong I was. It was maybe a week since Brookhaven, and I was bent on doing this immediately. It was winter, so most farms were not taking wwoofers. After making a post on their forum I got a response from a farm in Macon, GA. I read threw their mission statement, talked to the owner, and felt it checked out for the most part so I geared up to go. Again, fuck me. I quit my carts job, got a Amtrak ticket, told my ex I would see her later, and headed out. I had about $700 saved when I left for this and it was also convenient that I had family in Atlanta. When I first arrived I stayed with my aunt's family and my grandmother in Atlanta for a few days as I corresponded with this farm. Things where relatively shitty from the get go. @Matt Derrick has used the term 'kinderpunk' and I'd say this was a good description of myself at the time. I was ultra anarcho aggro. I spent this time being irritated and snide with my catholic aunt who couldn't help but ask me condescending questions. At least nanny liked to drink too, so I spent theses days drinking and watching peoples court.

    I got a ride out to Macon with my aunt and finally made it to the farm. I got there at night to meet the couple who owned it. They would show me the farm tomorrow. The cabin I stayed in was actually really nice. It consisted of two bunk beds, a sitting area near the wood burning stove, a side room with a bucket to shit in, and a bookshelf/vhs rack with a tv to watch tapes (the books where actually pretty neat, mostly nature based and encyclopedias, and the movies they had were decent.) The next day I got the rundown from the husband on how things operate (I will call him M). M showed me around and ran through the chores. I won't deny it, I made mistakes. The first one was that he told me to write down everything he was telling me, which, I didn't. The chores consisted of feeding the horses and letting them out, feeding the chickens/goats/giuni fowl/dogs. Weeding their fields. Tearing down their old fences. Splitting wood with the log splitter. Watering their orchid. Picking Tabasco peppers from their green house, etc. In regard to doing these chores I learned a lot about time management, priority, and can honestly say this made it worth it, I also liked the property, working with the animals and the fact that they were at work most of the time I was there so I had plenty of time to myself.

    But all the decent stuff aside this farm was just rotten. To start, the owners where ultra conservative Christians who were focused on their market/making money. I tend to avoid folks like this for the sake of not having to hide my beliefs. Since I pooled all my money into this decision and am respectful, I held my tongue. It hurt. I remember the day of the Sandy Hook shooting the wife (I will call her S) went on about other countries being jealous of the US. I started to suggest (lightly and respectively) that world trade might be how the US makes its enemies, and with that I set the stage to be undermined and passively attacked routinely. Any time I opened my mouth on a subject the more hostility I received. M once made a huge deal one day over me saying "mmm hmm" and "Imm umm" as in yes/no. Anyway it set him off, he told me I sounded ignorant and demanded I say yes sir no sir. These fucking people get travelers from Korea and Germany, but because I'm from the US and partially from the south I should conform to this? Fuck you, I'm a Yankee today. Petty things got to them the more I expressed different opinions on things. I'm only scratching the surface so far. I was the only wwoofer there at the time, and they barely spent any time teaching me anything. They had me working for 6-8 hours a day and they wanted the world. I am never fazed by hard work, but this was insane. I work construction now, usually working ten hours a day, 5-6 days a week, but that is nothing compared to their expectations.

    They had me removing old fence covering a 4 acre area (destroyed a super awesome Dead Kennedys shirt in that process, was pissed about that), cutting cord after cord after cord of fire wood, then moving it, then moving it again when they weren't happy with where it was. Clearing weeds from a field by hand, telling me two different things on what I was supposed to remove. Pretty sure I had a spiritual ancestral flash back of generations of serf-hood, these people were never happy.

    Also equally insane were the meals they provided. One, JUST ONE! Bowl of cereal in the morning. I started off eating two in the morning but then S said "better space those out because i'm not spending a whole bunch of money on cereal". WHAT?! IT'S $0.60 A BOWL! ITS FUCKING CORN FLAKES LADY! Lunch was no better, for all the back breaking non sense they expected they provided one sand which and one fruit. Which they got on me for putting too much on the sand which, fuck you. Diner was decent, but I could have done without the headache side dish of 5 minute prayer. Again, I'm a light eater, but this is ridiculous.

    I could have stayed pushing carts and making money, buying lobster bisque and drinking whiskey (oh and drinking was a no-no). The exchange in this host/wwoofer situation was unbalanced. I always was hungry as I spent all day working burning off carbs. One day I had enough and ordered a pizza, it was unreal. They probably spent $1.50 on what I ate during a day (excluding dinner), which was probably planned out considering M's profession. Ill get to that later.

    One weekend (I was off on weekends), after being done watching all their movies, I decided to walk into town. The walk there and back was about 11 miles, which doesn't bother me, what did was the area, and it finally dawned on me where I was. My first thought was rhinestone cowboys. I'm sure theirs a bud light (trademark), hick-hop, awful ass country song humming over the area in spirit. Just huge properties, with huger houses, double doored garages; when open, you can see $20,000 worth of redneck toys. ATVs, monstrous boats, hobby livestock, jet skis, "cool cars" (you gotta say it in your head with dr steve brule's vocie), the works. Walking down the street, one of those expensive 4 person quad passed me with some good old boys dressed in full camo wielding rifles and sporting a confederate flag off the back. What a fucking place.

    Things only proceeded to suck more everyday. When S asked why I was doing wwoofing, I was scoffed at and treated like a moron when I said something along the lines of sustainability and not relying on petroleum and mass market grown foods. Greeted with the same old rhetoric with a tone for a toddler. They didn't have much respect for nature either, which annoyed me. Talking about how happy they were that a virus killed off most of the coyotes in the area, how they used traps and poison to kill raccoons/coyotes/etc.

    The worst day, by far, had to be when we went out to see a parade and eat. The parade was obnoxious, literally the line went, soldiers-firemen-cops-school kids-semi truck pulling a huge sam's club trailer-more cops-old cars-more kids-another walmart promotional-more soldiers-more cops-more kids-the end. God was it obnoxious. Then we rode out to waffle house.

    Now about M's profession and how they cut corners on expense. M was a manager at a grocery store. Now if you ever worked in a grocery store, you know how fucking miserable mangers are. Even if your grocery store has a union, they still are hell because they are not protected. They are, always, intense. In my experience, if they show a shred of humanity, they get canned quick by the regional manager. So, old boy was cheap and a micromanaging butthole. We get to the waffle house, its packed because of the parade. We sit down, order our food and it gets bad. They both are complaining, especially M, on how long its taking, and finding more things to complain about by the minute. M yammered on about efficiency, and how the kid making our eggs should be fired for how slow he was, ignoring the fact that every seat was occupied. His glaring grimace could have peeled the skin off the back of that kids head. These people's entitlement was bewildering.

    I felt like shit almost the entire time I was there. One day, this guy comes by to work on the cabin, put some ceiling boards up. As we worked he made a joke about crack killing then asked me if I smoked, I says "Smoke what?" then he "Cigarettes, what did you think I meant?" this guy is smiling, I know he's fucking around and we start talking about the drugs we do hehe. I forgot his name but he was the only person through this whole experience I related to. The demoralizing part and the driving point for me cutting my losses was that he told me he'd bring me a "hooter" (that's Georgian for a blunt) and a week later he never came, felt like a widow waiting for a dead sailor husband, it was heartbreaking.

    All that week I continued working alone. At night the owners would get home and I would climb down the hill like sashquash to eat dinner. Their quiet disapproval made me feel like a monster. The routine went: I'd come in, take a shower, then get ready to eat. M would ask me what I got done, usually he'd be happy with my work, but he was pretty mood driven. I remember one time he asked me to find out how his dog was escaping their fenced four acre area. I forgot to do it and told him I would do so tomorrow. He blew up, "I DIDN'T ASK FOR YOU TO DO IT TOMORROW I WANTED IT DONE TODAY!" nights like those really fucked with me.

    I was originally going to stay till January or February but now, a few days before Christmas, I decided to give them a story about how my dad was getting layed off and that I had to make it to Louisiana to get dental work before he looses his insurance. Two days before christmas I was out of there going to Florida, then going to Louisiana to chill with my family. This farm gets a 2/5 from me. S and M are nice people, and I did have some good times while there, their dinners were usually great, hickory smoked pork bits with squash sticks out in my mind. I also admit that I started slow, now grasping how much they wanted done in a day, and that added to the animosity.

    Overall though, they didn't uphold their end of the wwoofing bargain. Now that I've been on great farms, my expectations were not unrealistic. They spent very little time showing me much, which I understood later to be that their farm wasn't much more than a hobby. Their focus on agriculture was mainly a side racket to make more money. They were opportunists, who despite have successful lives saw wwoof as a means for cheap labor to watch their livestock and do chores while they were at work. No other farm that I have been on has fed me the bare minimal, expected a ton of completed tasks, taught me hardly anything, and treated me so poorly.

    On a personal level, their apathy for nature, their religiousness, and conservativeness was not something I wanted to be part of and really added to a feeling of being alone. On a brighter note though, I recently looked at their wwoof review and its littered with 1/5, 2/5 ratings. That made me happy honestly, and on that farm is when I first learned of StP, so it wasn't completely shit.

    3) Awesome Southwest Farm

    IMG_0028.JPG

    In the beginning of this year I decided to try wwoofing again. Wwoofing has always been regarded as one of the best hostel programs in the states so I decided to incorporate it into my travels after I left Louisiana.

    I went and hung out in TX, then to Slab City for a bit, and afterwards I headed to this farm in northern Arizona. I stayed there almost a month with no idea what I was about to walk into, and honestly I'm starting to think that's something wwoofers have to contend with.

    I was picked up from Las Vegas by the owner and we headed out for her farm. Her father was with us from Germany, he only stayed for the first week but my first impression was pretty wild. He was a old conservative that hated everything (I will call her W) W was doing wwoof, farming, all of it and much of the ride there they fought yelling in German. W at one point starting screaming, making fun of her father for his strong belief in getting up for breakfast. I felt like Frances on Malcolm in the middle. Arguing Germans is something I think everyone should experience at least once, its funny as hell.

    Right away I had a feeling this farm was gonna be good. We drove for about two hours, picking things up that they needed and got something to eat. The farm was located in Meadview/Doland Springs in the thickest Joshua tree forest in America. It was cloudy, and the impression it had was like being on the moon. Once we got there, W showed me the property. It was two acres with their one bedroom house, three trailers for their wwoofers, a hoop house, a greenhouse, a garden and scattered orchids throughout the property. At this time I also met her husband (I will call him C) and another woofer who was staying there (I will call him K).

    W's father stayed for about a week. The other wwoofer, K, was sick of the dude, and honestly I probably would have gotten to that point as well if he had been their longer. He was a nice man, but he'd come out while we were doing ground work to complain that we were just playing with rocks. W was probably the most annoyed and at one point kicked him out saying she hoped not to see him in another 20 years.

    All that drama aside, I couldn't begin to find anything shitty about my time there. We took regular rides out to check out the area, went to the top of one of the cliffs, checked out old towns and native sites, went to gardening clubs, etc. They paid for lunch or bar tabs anytime we went out despite offering to cover it and were consistently teaching us stuff about nitrogen fixing plants, desert plants, utilizing water, non destructive pest control, how to build with adobe, etc. They didn't make me feel like livestock either. Unlike the Georgia farm that locked their house down when they were at work and feed me a carefully counted penny lunch, I was free to go in and out of their house and help myself to whatever they had. Free to drink wine and eat eggs at 9pm while they burned some bud (life must be swell with a medical card). C was a vegan so I got to try meals I would never have eaten otherwise. We could have conversations on things without a Sean Hanity filter, talked about video games, books we read, all sorts of good shit. It was definitely more homesteady than the last two farms, they reached out to their community, scavenged and traded for resources and materials.

    IMG_0024.JPG
    This is me after a wine and egg night.

    A typical day would be me getting up whenever, but usually between 8 to 11am, going in to take a shower and eat, then start on chores which included but were not limited to dirtwork/gardening/leveling ground, water/maintenance planets/gardens/orchid, transplant, build irrigation, work on the adobe structures on the property, weed around property, clean up blown materials after a dust storm or strong winds, help hang drywall, build cabinets, etc. W would normally come out and explain her goals on certain things and share what she knew about the planets and methods we were working on. After 3-4 hours of work me and K would go eat then take a break, then around 2-3pm work another 2-3 hours till it got dark. K was a pretty awesome guy, he walked the pacific trail from Mexico to Canada and did a lot of peace core work in South America. He also introduced me to the Australian work visa program, which id like do get around to before I'm 30.

    IMG_0029.JPG

    This farm was a great stop and made up for my last experience. I give it 5/5 on pretty much all aspects. I learned a lot about homesteading and farming, was treated with respect, they were generous, politically/socially reasonable, and were good company. I walked the trails through the wash when I was bored and once accidentally sat down next to a rattle snake. My fondest memory was sitting outside at night by myself drinking in a rocking chair, looking at the mountains listening to doom metal, and waiting for aliens to come over the horizon. Oh and the fuckton of eggs I ate.

    4) Christian Hippie Farm in Texas

    A couple of days after the Arizona farm I went back to Texas to work for another farm. This one was in Bastrop, just outside of Austin. The owner (I will call him N) picked me up from where I was staying in Austin and we headed out to get get food things before heading to his home. N was a soft spoken christian hippie from NY who had a successful vegan nutrition book publicized. As far as his main occupation, I wasn't sure, but it must have been fruitful because he had a nice deal going on. His wife (I will call her T) was from I think Germany and was a extremely talented piano player.

    Their main home was a two story house that had a earthship style to it and loads of hippie shit throughout. They had a second smaller cob home on the property that was for the wwoofers that was probably the best thing about staying there. It had a fridge and stove, a computer, a low impact washer machine, and separate shower and shitter buildings adjacent to the house. I personally really liked these old 70's 'Dungeons and Dragons' style unicorn posters that where everywhere. They owned about 7 acres of post fire land that was mostly undeveloped. They used permaculture to grow their produce, most of their crops would be difficult to locate since you had to dig through all sorts of vegetation to get to most of it. There was also a lake the property was connected to that was really pretty to look at and was the source of much of the plant's water.

    I only stayed a week and a half so I didn't spend a whole lot of time learning about their growing processes, which was okay, learning agriculture was second to just using wwoofing as a hostel at this time for me. They ran their farm with more structure compared to the last one. N measured my hour like a time card, 6 hrs during the week, 3 hrs on Saturday, off Sunday. At this time he was extending his home so that was the project I worked on during my time there. First day we constructed scaffolding and grinded surfaces of I-beams for welding. We then were working with a contractor to hang and weld the frame of the extension. I finally understand why scaffolders in the plant are known to all take speed, being 3 stories up holding a beam in place with your body fully extended to keep it steady requires more than your full attention. The contractor had harnesses but I stopped wearing them since what I was tied off to most of the time would only come down with me. Also finally used my fire watch certification, had to climb down about every 10 minutes to put out a grass fire started by the welding sparks.

    About half way into my stay, this other wwoofer showed up from Israel (I will call him H). He was a computer programmer I think, and he took a year off to travel the US. It was cool to meet the guy, part of the reason I wanted to do wwoofing was to meet people from other cultures, it was interesting to learn their are no seagulls over there and fucktons of cats. Little shit like that is neat to me.

    Around the time he came we were pretty much done with the I-beam work so we did other chores like filter fry grease for his dodge, re-tarp his shed, collect berries (which was a pain since you had to climb over shit to get to them), destroy ant hills, cut back vegetation from paths, and make vegan chocolate.

    Overall I'm glad I stayed there but it was for the best that I didn't stay any longer. Certain aspects of the farm I think would have irritated me. N told me from the beginning not to curse too much, especially "god damn it". (god damn it, didn't let it go when I slipped up, I felt bad about it but I really don't think about it when I say it) This was more a rule for his wife's sake, which wasn't a problem since she rarely socialized with me or H. Their christian faith wasn't invasive like the Georgia farm, but the hippie rhetoric just wasn't for me. I remember talking to N about my plans for the rest of the year and he said to me it will happen because I am willing it so and then talked about mastering the universe using Steve Jobs as an example. I wanted to say "Yeah, I guess I just have to overwill others and get a foxcon factory and colbolt pits, fuck them guys for not projecting their reality, ha ha ha ha," but I don't want to overload my shitty person quota for the year and frankly fuck it, let it go.

    When I think about it, it was really a feeling of not being welcome that made the timing right to leave. T would never talk to me or H, and we would only be in their house for lunch or making chocolate, otherwise we were never invited in. Contrast this to the Arizona farm, after work we'd spend the rest of the night watching youtube, joking around, drinking and hanging out. Sometimes we even chilled in their room and their neighbors came by into the house freely, no locked doors. We were only invited into the dining room at this farm. The farm in Arizona was border line broke but shared more than they had, while at this farm in Texas, it felt like entering a castle. Maybe it's just me, but I didn't feel on the same level, so at the end of the day I went north, they went south.

    All that aside It was a good experience, I give it 4/5. They weren't stingy, in the cob house, there was a full pantry. Always enjoyed the new vegan meals and food stuffs I got to try. The best thing had to be that the contractor offered me work in Austin painting and doing manual labor. I would have taken it but I needed to get back to Louisiana and I would have had to camp outside of Austin most likely. Would have put me out of the way from being picked up, but the offer was unexpected and really awesome.

    Final Thoughts

    Overall I think wwoofing is excellent if you plan ahead and know what to look for, which can be tough, since it's hard to know exactly what you might walk into. You should definitely read their mission statement 100 times before deciding to go, plan a minimal stay, then extend it if you can if you like that farm, and of course talk to the owners.

    From my experience so far, and my own preferences, this is what I look for in a good farm:

    Permaculture:

    I personally think permaculture is one of the most realistic ways to achieve some sort of sustainability and it is very interesting to learn about. What makes it a green flag for me when I am reading a farm's mission statement however is that generally people who practice it are usually progressive, tolerant, and more open minded. Not to say that will be the case, but considering farms 3 and 4 that had it, in contrast to two that didn't, I think there is a good chance for it to be more friendly.

    LGBT friendly:

    I have not been on a farm that's mission statement specifically claimed to be, however I have seen it on statements before. When I see it I'm more inclined to check it out because it indicates they will be tolerant and less likely to harbor other shitty qualities, like bigotry, militarism, or conservativeness. People deliberately stating they do not have a delusional hatred for a group of people is a good thing.

    Homestead:

    This one can be anywhere from a farm owner continuing a tradition on property his grandaddy left him, to young people starting a collective of friends, to something like farm 3 (which stated it was a homestead), either way it narrows it down. I think it's also good because a lot of people on here have said they would like to start a punk house, or punk farm, and this can be a great experience to see what that means for other people and learn how to do it yourself.

    When it comes to bad farms, or just unpleasant/unfulfilling ones this is what I look out for:
    • Direct statements of religious affiliation - This one is personal but I feel a lot of you here might relate. I find these statements to hinder an experience because you can't be honest without offending the farm owners. It will be hard to express your feelings on spiritual/social issues without meeting routine road blocks. Everyone is different, and if you share a farm's stated faith then it will probably be good for you, but me, I personally try to avoid these places.

    • Excessive focus on market - I learned this from the Macon farm. If you see a narrative of market/money making its probably gonna suck, that is if you are looking for more than just a hostel. You may have a very fulfilling learning experience and good board, but don't expect any of it to be sustainable. The experience will most likely be less personal and no different than if you landed a job as a farm temp, except with no pay.

    Here are some other things to consider that will help you land a good farm. In 2014 I was looking at the area I am living in to see if their were farms I could volunteer at on the weekends. Their was one in Ponchatula that I was going to check out. I was glad my roommate at the time pointed out that in the statement the owner included his proud military background and how that was part of how he liked to do things. My point being is I read that statement a few times and had missed that, so you can't lose if you re-read the farms description.

    Another thing that I heard from the owners of the Arizona farm was that somewhere in southern Arizona, two of their previous wwoofers had a shitty experience. I can't remember the whole story, but the husband on that farm lost his shit and tried to run his wife over with his car. The good thing for them is that they had each other in this ordeal. The buddy system can be very valuable if you happen to be on a shitty farm, especially if its as bad as that. On a side note, the farm was an alpaca farm, so if you are in southern Arizona, maybe avoid farms with that description.

    I plan to do more wwoofing in the future and would recommend it to anyone trying to find somewhere to stay for a minute or if you're interested in learning about sustainability or general farming. I've learned a good bit and have enjoyed myself for the most part. I think the chance to meet people from around the world is really awesome and the fact it only costs you $40 a year, plus travel expenses is wonderful. If you work hard and are respectful you should have a good time, and if its less than decent it's on them and don't hesitate to leave in those situations. Anyway that's my experience thus far, I hope that it was helpful!
     
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  2. ped

    ped Glorified monkey
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    "These people's entitlement was bewildering."

    you have no idea how much this resonates with me. While these subhumans are legion they go around talking about everyone elses entitlement. They use you, abuse you, spit you out, and fuck you without lube then expect the world. I know the type, I know the story SO WELL.

    Mongrels
     
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    #2 ped, Jan 15, 2017
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  3. Kim Chee

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    Someday I'd like to be able to offer an exchange for wwoofers.

    I'd do my best to make sure the "balance" was fair and the work interesting and enjoyable.

    Any time you feel like your hosts don't see you as an important part of their operation, be sure to let them know in person or in the review.
     
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  4. Renegade

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    Exactly! I've Been a woofer for 7 years..on and off...i have enjoyed it for the most part but its also really hit or miss sometimes..you cant always get a long with every host, sometimes my hosts were just buttnuts.. and i had to bail.. always have a back up farm relatively close if possible. And dont let them work you to death.
     
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  5. ped

    ped Glorified monkey
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    OK so after looking around and thinking about it, is this really just a cloaked up, sorta "green marketed" way of getting free labor and having the help feel good about it?

    I mean even chattel slaves were fed.

    I keep reading reports about having [cheap; tuna, canned chicken] food rationed. Uhh...for 5hrs (and apparently often much more) a day I better be able to eat any goddamn thing I want. Cause I can go practically anywhere and make $50-60 in 5 hrs and that'll easily buy 3-4 days of premium meats, shrimp, beer, etc. Or over a weeks worth of staple food.
     
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    #5 ped, Jan 16, 2017
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  6. Kim Chee

    I deleted myself

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    Obviously, it isn't going to work for everybody (hosts or wwoofers).

    I think you can come up with plenty of information from actual wwoofers what wwoofing is.

    Go to youtube and put "wwoofing experience" in the search bar.

    Watch some videos made by people who actually wwoof during breaks, vacation, for a living or whatever.

    On topic: great write up, we don't have much about wwoofing here surprisingly.
     
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    stukovthetuna

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    I would really love to do the same. Sadly it keeps getting further from me so I'm gonna stick with traveling for now.

    In many ways yes, it depends on the farm. My 3rd farm was pretty legit though, in the scene of even if I didn't wanna learn about their projects, as long as I put the work in I was free to fuck off as I pleased. I think though, the majority of farm owners will probably be entitled rednecks or privileged feel good liberals, you need a good bit of cash to own property, let alone farm stuffs and assholes tend to usually have money.
     
  8. spectacular

    spectacular Sir Posts a Lot

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    first woofing experience was in new mexico on matt romero's farm near embudo, NM. he sells at the santa fe farmer's market. i think he deals better with male interns, ended up buying one of the more hardworking ones a car, a tale he never got tired of regaling me and the other 2 female interns with at the time. the other girls and i got together in the trailers after work and shared stories of his sexual comments throughout the day and the abysmal treatment of his wife, who does a lot of work for him. after they left it was just me and him and one day while his wife was at a class reunion in wyoming he and i got sexual, which resulted in the the last three months of my stay becoming a tense hidden love triangle between he, his wife, and i. i don't think his wife knows still but seemed to suspect something at the time. there was lots of weed involved.

    second woofing experience was with nolina's heavenly organics at an isolated farm a bit north of the busted desert town of socorro NM. it was just nolina and i. she made a point of sharing her life story right away, which involved a lot of parental abuse at a young age. she's a very industrious woman and built her own straw adobe thatched roof hut in which she lives. had chickens, don't know if she still does. was a frequent seller at the albuquerque farmer's market up until a few years ago when i stopped seeing her. she sold it all pretty much. she required a lot of work for almost no pay or food stipend. she encouraged use of food stamps. i lived in a trailer out back for about 2 months while working for her before it all blew up in a screaming fight when i took a blanket from the main trailer that her friend had made her before she died. i didn't know this. really pissed off nolina all the same. i left the farm with all my shit after we had it out and stayed at her friend's place in socorro for a little while before going north to albuquerque and living there for the next year in an apartment with a job and all them city life fixins.

    i might be open to trying woof again but only for short amounts of time at least before going into longer commitments. people who want long commitments at the start are generally interested in running businesses and want u to work quietly and efficiently under their tutelage which just ends up being oppressive in most cases, i won't say all. in the cases where it isn't oppressive, interns are given more than a shitty trailer or tent to live in and some kind of monetary compensation that enables them to move on without too much trouble when they decide they want to. people not offering a stipend and expecting more than 3 days of work a week are full of shit imo.
     
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  9. ped

    ped Glorified monkey
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    I mean I get all that. I've been reading all morning. But the fact is the farmers are getting a significantly better deal IMO. An old mattress and some PB&J sandwhiches for young kids, probably often with a trust fund, doing a bunch of hard dirty work daily. get rid of all the marketing buzzwords (sustainable, organic, whatever) and all you got is a program of getting free farm labor for next to nothing.

    and I guess feeling great for doing because it's "organic." I can imagine many 'farmers' laughing their asses off behind closed doors. You think they went around working farms for the learning experience? NO...they wouldnt have farms themselves if they did that.

    I mean our generation seems primed for monumental bullshit in regards to labor. We intern like mules in hopes of landing a corporate gig for example. Pay is going down, down, down, but goods are not. at what point do we stop being martyrs? All the while we keep getting told that we're the laziest and most entitled generation by people with absurd amounts of land, 5-6 figure toys, retirements, houses, postions of power, etc.

    and just like in the OP the moment we stand up even the slightest we're treated like garbage until we're forced out.

    I dont know what your all's backround is but I grew up doing hard labor. This shit isn't some grand learning experience....other than to learn to stop working for peanuts.
     
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  10. Kim Chee

    I deleted myself

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    @ped, can I travel free in your van, eat your food and not contribute?

    No, you wouldn't let that happen.
     
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  11. ped

    ped Glorified monkey
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    No but you can pull me around in a rickshaw all day. I'll give you a bologna sandwich and tell you you're cool as hell



    EDIT:
    I was just telling a friend of my moms who has trouble with her 2 acre garden due to health issues about this convo. I told her to setup a bed in the shed, feed them a couple eggs for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch. they'll work 5hrs a day, 5 days a week. Literally they'll do everything for you, your garden, the lawn, fire wood, vacuum, wash your dishes... while you just sit around all day. Be sure to say words like organic, green, sustainable, off-grid.

    Her reply - that is a shitty thing to do. lmao....which it is

    It's the whole foods racket. Throw some progressive sounding labels on it and hordes of well meaning fools will give you all their money.
     
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  12. OutsideYourWorld

    OutsideYourWorld Celebrated Poster

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    I had one wwoofing experience in Romania. I had to hitch to a village that was barely connected by a road to the "main road." The strange French guy I ended up working for living at the highest-most house, in an area where he bought all the houses and literally fortified them by building walls between every house. It was a little fortress. He even built a guard tower (for spotting fires he said), had his own sawmill, his own recycling business (because Eastern Europeans suck at putting garbage in its proper place), his own taxi service, and he was the fire chief (He had to buy EVERYTHING for it). He was essentially the owner of the village.

    He was very distant, and was actually angry that I couldn't speak French (He never specified it was a requirement or even recommended before). I had to work 8 hour days on very basic food, cutting grass, burning garbage, piling wood, etc. He just worked and slept himself, and more or less had his wife there to serve him. It was always such an awkward experience being around him. His wife seemed like one of those typical "smiley but hurting under the skin" types. She brought up how others have had issues working there, but said they were all just jumping to conclusions and didn't understand the place. It seemed like she was just attempting to justify her existence there. It was sad.

    He didn't even want to give me a day off to actually SEE the area. I basically had to tell him, after a week, that i'd like to have ONE day to explore.He reluctantly allowed me to.

    I was very happy to leave. He didn't even say thank you for the help.

    When it comes to volunteering now, I use Workaway. $25 for a TWO year subscription, which gives you access to the WHOLE WORLD, as opposed to paying for each country. The website itself is lightyears ahead of WWOOF'ing as it's not just a list of people that isn't kept up to date. It has maps, updated info, and more thorough descriptions. And a feedback system for hosts. Not to mention it isn't just farms, but literally anything that people need done in exchange for a place to sleep and food.

    Granted, Workaway has twats as well. I think a lot of people do see these systems as free labor as opposed to a work/experience exchange.
     
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  13. Renegade

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    It can be.. depending on the host, i have had places treat me great and some places treated me like property.. i hit the fukin door when that happens.. but i like to think after all these years that i have gained lots of know how from all the farms i have worked at.. anything and everything from how to lay irrigation lines to taking care of chickens .. i have lots of skills from doing these farm jobs in my off season.. not to mention a vast knowledge of growing food at this point.. its been valuable to me..because see even if they had an agenda for me being there.. so did i.. i was soaking up everything i could and learning stuff most people never get to .. you just have to find a good farm.

    *fixed my typos dudes i was drunk when i wrote this* :)
     
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  14. ped

    ped Glorified monkey
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    True...It's the same concept behind corporate internships. You get to learn the ropes at a multi-billion dollar corporation while you went into $75k debt to make coffee.

    you also learn valuble life lessons like how the have's exploit the have-nots while displacing paid jobs.

    Its different if its an experimental, non-profit type thing. But working for livestock accommodations while they make money? that IS exploitation and looking around its apparently very common.
     
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  15. ped

    ped Glorified monkey
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    $.02
     
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  16. Renegade

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    Yeah i see where you are coming from.. my future plan is to have my own farm off the grid.. i have land secured already im just not ready to settle yet i still have the "itch" to travel and be on the road.. but the sun will set for us all and sooner or later everyone has to stop traveling. Im thankful for all the knowledge i gained from my experience.. and some farms even paid me .. its not all bad.. but it sure can be.

    I was surprised at how much shit OP took to stay on some of them farms .. he has more patience than me I would tell them to fuck off really quickly if they treated me like that. I dont do WWOOF much these days but when i do its to crash out for a min and get off the road.. I respect your opinion..and it sounds like WWOOF isn't for you.. lots of people find they hate working for free and aslo hate the tasks.. seen lots of people quit and after 8 hours of hard work. Im gonna take the knowledge gained and use it later on in life for my future endeavors..
     
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  17. ped

    ped Glorified monkey
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    for the sake of conversation, though I feel like Im beating a dead horse

    take that land you have secured and start bringing in wwoofers. have a bunch of younger cats come there and build you some shacks and setup some solar and cisterns. When they leave bring in some more to plant your field. Get a few more in fall to harvest and sell the shit at the market. You don't really have to do anything other than feed them a little and pay taxes.

    pretty good deal for you. Hell, it's way cheaper than owning slaves...
     
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  18. ped

    ped Glorified monkey
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  19. Kim Chee

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    @ped, in life there are great things and horrible things alike. Sure, there are bad farms. Go away, don't help them, tell everybody in the review how bad they suck and how they took advantage of you.

    If you wish to focus on the worst of situations to form an opinion of what wwoofing or life is about you aren't living...you are being a bitter little shit.

    To deny that fair situations exist or that situations which are very much favorable to the wwoofer is your choice. I hope potentially good wwoofers don't read your words and become discouraged from wwoofing, yet instead choose to be informed and decide for themselves.

    On topic: Thank you, OP for sharing the experiences you had. I hope you have many more positive worktrade experiences to share. And should you be unfortunate enough to have negative experiences, be sure to share those as well just so we don't get the impression it is all ice cream and ky jelly;)
     
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  20. Renegade

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    Nathis HTML

    Nah you're good. That's exactly what I plan on doing-- of coruse I'd put in work too tho-- I'd try to make it enjoyable for everyone-