Travelling and Want to Live and Work on Organic Farms?
by Jenny and Atilla
We have read your website and are very interested in your Work! We are a couple, visiting Australia till End of Dec and are looking for a nice place to live and work. May you have an idea for us? We got an own van, so we can go where ever we want ;)
We often get emails from folks wanting advice on how to get back to the land. Since most people can’t afford to buy a farm outright or to leave their job without another source of income to replace it, how is it possible?
Perhaps you could start as a volunteer to gain experience for your CV plus decide if the farming life is really for you. You’ll also get valuable contacts who may be able to help you find a farmer who needs an intern/apprentice or live-in worker.
WWOOF is a world wide network ideal for the traveller wanting to immerse themselves on farms in other countries. It is very active in Australia. In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.
Similar to WWOOF, GrowFood also connects farmers interested in teaching with people interested in farming. You can spend some time working in exchange for room, board, and experience and build a career for a lifetime.
The mission of GrowFood is to help grow a community of 50 million new small-scale organic farmers.
Sustainable Farming Internships and Apprenticeships
This directory of on-the-job learning opportunities in sustainable and organic agriculture in the U.S. (and some in Canada) has been published since 1989 as a tool to help farmers and apprentices connect with each other. The listed farms are primarily seeking interns/apprentices from North America.
Apprenticeship programs on working farms provide an opportunity for people to try their hands at farming and gain production skills.
"Gen-O" is the new generation of organic farmers taking the lead in producing high quality food for the future while caring for the environment. Organic Valley started Generation Organic to nurture a new generation of organic farmers.
Help a farmer?
The increasing age of farmers presents one opportunity. In most developed nations, most of the younger generation are opting to leave the farm and head for suburbia. As a result those left farming are getting older and older.
According to the last census, for example, in 2006 the median age of farmers in Australia was 52 and in the USA was over 58 years old. It is likely to have risen a couple of years since then. And in Australia 40% of farmers were over 55, with 18% over 65, well past the usual retirement age. More than a quarter of U.S. farmers are older than 65.
Many existing farmers must be desperate for help running their farms. Many farms also have vacant houses. So why not offer your services in exchange for a modest wage and a place to live and start a garden? You could either approach farmers directly, send out a resume, or advertise on local notice boards. If you are keen, it’s definitely worth a try.
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