WWOOF is a worldwide movement linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange, thereby helping to build sustainable, global community. Korea has seen a shift in awareness of the quality of its produce lately after the Korean Organic Farmers Association (KOFA) reported a high quantity of pesticides used during farming procedures. The misuse has led to the government projection of expending half of the current amount of chemicals in the future. This recent discourse has exposed issues in organic farming in Korea to a wider audience and prompted implications to better suit the county’s unique landscape and improve economic and environmental sustainability.
Organic farming appeared as a notion in Korea in the early 1970’s. Independent farmers, rather than government farms, took the foreground of the movement. Today, the Korean Organic Farming Association counts over 80,000 organic farms.
WWOOF was first founded in 1971 in the UK, and now there are WWOOF organizations in more than 132 countries around the world. Established in 1997, WWOOF Korea represents 65 WWOOF farms all over the country. If you join WWOOF Korea, you can experience rural life in the countryside of Korea.
Farmers working with WWOOF Korea are either small local family businesses or self-sufficient farmers growing vegetables and fruits for their own consumption and for the pleasure of sharing. Farmers who partner with WWOOF Korea wants to share their view on organic farming. They are also very interested on meeting new people with different cultures and vision. They are willing to open themselves to the world.
The WWOOFer are students (Koreans as well as foreign nationals), adults on vacation, families, groups of friends and even retired people. They all come for the same purposes - to get farming experience and organic farming awareness, explore the countryside of South Korea, meet great and generous farmers and get a better understanding of the Korean culture.
As a volunteer (or WWOOFer as we call them) you will live alongside your host helping with daily tasks and experiencing life as a farmer. You will volunteer for 4-6 hours per day at the farm, in return for your meals, accommodation, and culture.
As I have myself been WWOOFing for two months, I cannot express how grateful I am to have met such wonderful people along the way. I have met this great family, who has treated me like one of their own, introducing me to their friends, family and offering me more than I think I was offering them.
I remember going to village parties and sharing wonderful moments with folks. I was also amazed at how they could be so strong and keep working so hard on their farm every day at such an old age and still be joyful and full of energy. The farming experience that I had with WWOOF Korea was truly the best traveling experience I have had in my entire life. It is one thing to come and visit a country, touring every touristic place (not that I haven’t done it) but is something else to live, work and share your everyday life with locals in a farm.
You can see the entire process of growing vegetable and fruits and it makes you realize that they don’t just come out of our fridge. They also teach you how important every food waste can be useful to anything. Through this experience you get to remind yourself of the real meaning of life and its essentials such as sharing, helping, being grateful for what we have and enjoy things just as they are. I have made great memories that I will never forget and cherish my entire life.
If you want to live and learn on organic farms worldwide and share your life with other like-minded people, join us now, and begin your journey with WWOOF Korea!
How do you become a WWOOFer?
Option 1: Sign up online and get one-year membership. It costs $50US (50,000won) and lasts for a full year. Go to sign up page → wwoofkorea.org/2018groupwwoof/
Option 2: - If you hesitate to get a one-year membership, try GROUP WWOOF first! GROUP WWOOF is a WWOOFing program held in a group unit, only shorter and simpler. It is open to everyone, membership not required. Check the schedule on the website, and apply for one that best fits you. If there are more than 5 participants, we can open new event for you.
Once you've become a member, look at the host list and contact the hosts you want to visit to make plans.
Then go WWOOFing!!!
About the Author: I'm a French student in sign language interpretation, 30 years old and I was mostly in Jeollanam area in Gokseong Peace school for 2 months.
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