(W.W.O.O.F. stands for World Wild Opportunities On Organic Farms – links at the end of this article).
Before going WWOOFing, I had been getting increasingly depressed by the collapse of capitalism. As a young man, I was furiously angry with the system which enslaves us. I’m still angry, but I tend to hold it a little better these days…
Since Occupy began in 2011, I have been actively searching for ‘better’ (or less bad) systems. Today, most people seem to be finally arriving at the same page, which is simultaneously encouraging and terrifying, because it means that most of us now recognise the multiple converging catastrophes unfolding all around us…which makes them ever more real.
From my perspective, it was all looking pretty hopeless on the postcapitalist front until just recently.
I’d heard about WWOOFing, but I couldn’t seem to find the will to actually go and try it out for myself. Word Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms did sound really cool, but I couldn’t save the travel fare. There’s no money involved with WWOOFing, but it’d probably create problems with my dole claim. I’m not fit enough to work. I might injure myself. etc etc…
In the end, some friends lent me the money for the travel and I headed off for a fortnight in Devon, feeling hopelessly underprepared and a little bit anxious. What if they were cultists? What if it they wanted us to graft for gruel and a leaky tent? What if we had to socialise with other people!?
In the event, we were treated like royalty. Lovely, warm, kind, generous hosts who were genuinely concerned for our happiness and wellbeing. Huge caravan. Wood burning stove. Gas (rarely used) and Leccy (solar). Fresh, organic food every day. No pressure to work harder than we were able to (or socialise if we didn’t want to). We learnt loads about how to grow stuff organically and the exercise had an extremely positive effect on my physical health.
Knowing that we were contributing to a sustainable way of life, while living sustainably (effectively off-grid) for a couple of weeks, without money involved was perhaps the best part of it all. WWOOFing turned out to be the most radical, revolutionary, risk free, relaxing and rejuvenating thing I’ve ever done. It’s the most effective and sustainable way I’ve found to rage against the machine so far.
WWOOFing could well be the seed of postcapitalism planted in the 70s, bursting through just in time to save us all!
I’m looking forward to going again as soon as possible. There are 700 WWOOFs in the UK. I might not come back…
You can find out more about WWOOFing at these websites;