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CLOSING TIME: WWOOF: BUILDING A GLOBAL COMMUNITY FOR SUSTAINABLE FARMING

closingTimeWwoofGreer Farm WWOOFER Seth McCleary from Ashville,
North Carolina with the Greer’s grandson Timothy

Are you are curious about organic farming but don’t know where to start? Are you an organic farmer who is patient and needs an extra pair of helping hands? An international organization called WWOOF (wwoof.net)—World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms—will provide the link. Bringing student and teacher together, WWOOF matches the volunteer, eager to learn about sustainable agriculture, with the organic farmer who possesses that knowledge.

Founded in England in 1971, the organization quickly grew and expanded worldwide. In 2001, a national branch—WWOOF USA (wwoofusa.org)—was created to place volunteers on American farms. There are over 1,600 participating farms (more than 50 in Texas) and 15,000 volunteers—better known as WWOOFers.

Here’s how it works: volunteers provide a half-day’s work each day in exchange for room and board and an invaluable education, working side by side with their host farmer. The length of a stay can vary from days to months, depending on what the volunteer and host agree upon. A farmer must employ organic methods but doesn’t need USDA certification.

Sid and Eva Greer of Greer Farm (GreerFarm.com) in Daingerfield have hosted WWOOFers for the last five years. They believe their farm reaps the benefits, and they enjoy the human experience of connecting with their ever-changing farm family. “It broadens our perspective, as well as their perspective,” says Sid. “We watch them grow as they are learning about growing.”

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