Volunteer in South Africa Organic Farming - InterExchange Working Abroad
How to Volunteer on an Organic Farm
Volunteering on an organic farm is an excellent way to be of service, while gaining valuable life experiences. There are numerous farm volunteer opportunities world wide. To secure a position as an organic farm volunteer, start by seeking opportunities. Then choose the right farm by weighing your needs against the expectations of various farms. Finally, make a firm commitment and get ready for your experience as an organic farm volunteer.
Think about staying close to home.Volunteer opportunities are generally organized by location, so choosing the place (or places) where you'd be interested in working is an important first step. Consider working on a farm in the country where you live. Some benefits for this include:
- Lower costs for travel
- Speaking the language
- Potentially shorter farm stays
- Being close to home
Consider volunteering abroad.Another popular option is to use organic farming as a way to see other parts of the world. If there is someplace you've always wanted to see, or a particular climate where you'd love to farm, search for organic farming opportunities in that location!
- If you plan to travel abroad, you will need a valid passport.
- You will be responsible for your own travel expenses, so traveling abroad can be a little more expensive.
- Farming is a way to cover your housing, so it is still less expensive than a traditional vacation!
- Farming is a wonderful way to live abroad and experience some of the culture.
Research organic farming volunteer opportunities.If there is an organic farm near your home, you could attempt to contact the farmer there and ask if he could use any volunteer help. In addition to opportunities on your local neighborhood farm, you can also consider looking for volunteer opportunities with trusted organizations, such as organic farm programs sponsored or set up by universities.
- Be careful about the opportunities you choose.
- Never accept an offer from a person or an organic farm that you have no way of researching or doing a background check on.
Apply for membership with an organization.An alternate way to find organic farming volunteer opportunities is to join an organization that specializes in connecting hosts with volunteers. Simply search for the country that interests you and go from there. When joining an organization, you can expect to pay a small fee, usually somewhere around .
- The largest and most effective organization is the WWOOF, or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, which provides opportunities throughout the globe.
- There are other organizations you can use, but most are not as far-reaching.
Subscribe to that organization's list of farm hosts.Depending on the organization you apply with (such as WWOOF), you may need to purchase or request a specific list of organic farm hosts separately. Other organizations may provide lists for free. Purchase or request the list of farms for the region (or regions) of the world you would like to explore. Begin reading about each farm opportunity, one by one.
- Volunteer farm positions are unpaid, though most provide some form of housing.
- Housing can range from an area to pitch a tent, to primitive cabins, to private houses.
- Some farms also provide food.
- Other amenities--such as internet access or the ability to bring pets--will vary widely from farm to farm.
Choosing the Right Farm
Look at the amenities.Comb through the list of available opportunities, and be realistic about what you can and cannot handle. Look carefully at the different amenities each farm offers. Think carefully about whether or not that will work for you.
- For example, if you need Internet access, make sure the host farm has Internet access.
- Ensure that you will be comfortable living in the accommodations provided (in some places, this is limited to space for a tent).
- In some places you may in very close quarters with others. In some places, you'll have lots of privacy and space.
Acknowledge the demands.As you look through the list of farms, consider the workload each is requiring. Consider you own stamina and abilities: Would you be able to meet the physical demands of a particular farm?
- If you have physical limitations, make sure that the explanation of duties provided do not list a task that you will be unable to perform.
- Make sure that you can commit to the daily work requirements. Most farms will want you to work anywhere between five and eight hours a day, Monday through Saturday.
- Consider the climate in which you would be working. It might be very hot, cool, or rainy.
Consider different kinds of farms.Different farms will specialize in different kinds of agriculture. Take this into consideration when choosing the right farm for you. The majority of organic farms seeking volunteers will focus on vegetation (such as, macadamia nut farms in Hawaii or beet farms in Canada), but some farms will have animals too (such as farms in sheep and goat farms in Israel). Think about the type of work you would like to do and seek out a farm that fits.
Make sure that at least one person there speaks a language you speak.Theoretically, you could survive on a farm for several weeks without being able to speak the native language, but it would be immensely difficult to take instructions and learn if no one there can speak a language you understand. The head farmer does not need to speak English, necessarily, but if English is the only language you speak, you should make sure that someone in his family or on the farm can translate for you.
Pay attention to dates.Before selecting a farm, be sure to look both the start date and minimum time limit. In many instances, there is no maximum time limit, and if there is, it usually indicates the end of the growing season. There is almost always a minimum time limit, however. If you are unable to commit to that amount of time or start date range, that farm is not a good fit for you.
Making a Commitment
Contact the farm host.Once you have selected the opportunity that best matches your needs and wants, email, call, or send a letter to the farm host. In this initial correspondence, you should include information that demonstrates your interest in the volunteer opportunity as well as what you can offer.
- Include your membership information. If the organization you are a part of gives you a membership number or card, send either a copy of the card or the number to the prospective organic farm host.
- Provide a little information about yourself. Tell the host where you come from, which languages you speak, why you are interested in working for his or her farm, and what skills you can offer. Also mention your limits, including how long you are able to stay and any physical limitations you have or needs that must be met for you.
- Ask for more information about the opportunity and the farm. Ask for greater detail about the type of work you will be doing, how to get to the farm, where the nearest town is located, and what sort of accommodation, if any, will be provided. It also helps to take an interest in the farm. Ask about what the farm produces and a little about its history.
Make arrangements.You will be required to make any travel arrangements necessary to get you to the farm. Book any plane, train, or bus tickets, or make sure that your vehicle is fit for the trip. Also, make sure that you have any needed gear, clothing, or other equipment (such as a tent). You can ask your farm host what, if any, specific clothing or gear you need to bring.
Stay committed.After you make your final arrangements with the organic farm host, you must stick with them unless something urgent and unavoidable happens. Do not back out. Most of these farms are small and run by families, and the reason they hire volunteers instead of workers is because they have limited resources to work with. In all likelihood, the farm is in desperate need of help. If you back out, you will be putting the farm in a real pinch, as they may be unable to find a replacement in time.
QuestionI'm from Indonesia. Could you please let me know the volunteer organization for organic farm?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerVisit http://wwoof.net/ to search for organic farms in your area and around the world.Thanks!
Video: HOW TO WWOOF FOR BEGINNERS - THE BASICS FOR WORK + CHEAP TRAVEL
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