My involvement with WWOOF goes back about fifteen years, to a time before computers, when one discovered WWOOF by means of calling cards pinned up on bunkhouse notice boards. It was following the third sighting when I joined, realising this was the antidote to my sedentary, but stressful day job, involving paperwork and bureaucracy.
I discovered a wonderland of practical, resilient, resourceful people who shared my values, and started WWOOFing at weekends with hosts close to London. I am still the Regional Host Contact for the South East although I am now more attracted to wilder places with proper elemental weather; wind and rain.
Wanting to spend more time WWOOFing I reduced my hours at work, eventually taking the decision to quit altogether and go on a WWOOFing Grand Tour around the UK and Scotland. I have to say that WWOOFing seriously damaged my career but greatly improved my health and physical strength, and there was no going back.
I became a Director about five years ago, feeling that I wanted to be a custodian of an organisation which is fundamentally about the well being of people and the planet. I have a keen interest in Mental Health and WWOOFing seems to tick a lot of boxes... offering opportunities for social engagement, spending time in nature, and eating real food. I am dismayed about the culture of dependency fostered by our consumer society and always relieved to find people outside of this, doggedly independent and often highly principled.
WWOOF has given me some of my best experiences, in an authentic way, and opportunities to learn and make informed life choices. It has also given me time to pursue my interest in drawing and painting, and produce images which have featured in the newsletter. I continue to feel passionately about it, particularly in challenging times when Nature Deficit Disorder is reaching epidemic proportions. I want WWOOF to be sustainable and resilient and provide a community for people with a shared vision of a more compassionate and gentler world.
Is this hopeless idealism? I hope not!!