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WWOOFING It in Canada

Exhange Your Volunteer Work for Food and Shelter

There is no better way to get to know the people of a country than by volunteering on organic farms.

I was introduced to WWOOF by a niece who had just woofed her way across Canada. She said if I sent $25 to WWOOF Canada the organization would send me a list of organic farm hosts to contact. In summer all the farms need workers, she said, and if I contacted them at least a week ahead of time I could move easily from farm to farm.

I decided to WWOOF close to home in parts of British Columbia's Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands I had never visited.

My first of seven WWOOF experiences was on a woman-only herb farm called Goldstream Gardens in Coombs on Vancouver Island. There I herded goats, fed turkeys, and put up fences for four hours a day.

I stayed in a private cabin with a woodstove for heating and cooking and prepared my own meals with home-made bread, vegetables, eggs, and goat cheese supplied by my host.

My last WWOOF experience of the summer was on Mayne Island, which I reached by ferry from Schwartz Bay. For a week on Mayne I helped a couple pick organic salad greens to sell to vegetarian restaurants in Victoria. We picked in the mornings and evenings when it was coolest. I ate vegetarian meals with my hosts and slept alone in a cabin with a woodstove, fridge, phone and running water.

Through WWOOF I went to out-of-the way places and met people I never would have otherwise. You don't make money woofing but you spend very little.

For More Info

Editor's Note: WWOOF is an exchange — In return for volunteer help (4-6 hours per day, 5-5 1/2 days per week) , WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. Host farms/homesteads in every region of Canada, East to West . . . over 900 hosts. Contact: WWOOF—Canada, 298 Iwanik Road, Procter, BC, V0G 1V0, Canada; 250.229.4448; admin@wwoof.ca, www.wwoof.ca. Membership is $45-$55.