25 January, 2012

Mama goes WWOOFing

Yesterday I did something that is usually reserved for the single 20-something backpacker: I went WWOOFing. WWOOF stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms and typically involves four to six hours work on an organic farm per day in exchange for food and lodgings. A wonderful way to travel and meet people and find accommodation when you are young... but not something you’d ordinarily find a 40-something mother-of-three doing on a rare day off from work and parenting duties.

But, hey, who cares what 40-something mother-of-three’s are supposed to do, right? I’m in for a spot of adventure,  dog dammit, even if I did look like a most ridiculous WOOFer compared to the fit, lean, beautiful bunch of young travellers I hung out with yesterday.

Here’s why I went WOOFing: I am declaring 2012 to be my year of following my heart. My wild, creative heart and my deep desire to learn more and write more and photograph more.

2012 is the year in which I am going to really learn how to grow food (in my itsy backyard).  And, if this journey of following my creative heart sees me squatting over a field planting parsley and coriander seedlings in the torrential rain with a bunch of young travellers, well, so be it. That’s where you’ll find me. What better way to learn about growing food than directly from the “real” farmers themselves?

WOOFing yesterday was a hoot – although my body is aching from it today – and I learned so much, simply by being out there and taking in the surrounds of the farm and talking to the farm workers and asking 101 questions. (The journalist-within can’t help herself.)  Digging my hands into the red crumbly soil was delicious fun for this enthusiastic gardener, and I’m so lucky to be living in an abundant food-growing region that offers these opportunities.*

I asked about the corn growing; learned how to propagate sweet potato, how far apart to plant lettuce seedlings and that globe artichokes are members of the thistle family and much more. I saw, firsthand, just what hard work real farming can be; satisfying work, to be sure, but hard never-the-less.  I came away from those few hours at the farm with a deeper appreciation of the effort that goes into growing food on such a scale, and a deeper respect for the farmers that nourish us.

For my efforts I was fed a delicious breakfast/lunch of freshly picked and prepared farm food; came home with a box of fresh organic produce and a couple of sweet potato cuttings to plant in my own backyard,  a heap of inspiration for my own veggie patch and cooked up a meal full of colour and vitality for my family last night. What’s not to love?

Have you ever WWOOFed?


- I went WOOFing at Chestnut Farm, Newrybar, home to MunchCrunch Organics. You can find out more about them at www.munchcrunchorganics.com.au

- Find out more on WWOOFing here: www.wwoof.com.au


  1. How cool are you!! I think I'll give this a try - I thought only backpackers could get in there! What a fun, rewarding day. x

  2. That is such a brilliant idea! I'm in awe of you - what a great thing to do!

  3. You are the cool Mom. What do the babies think?


  4. Growing up back home in NZ my family used to host wwoofers. It was such an awesome way to be brought up, meeting all sorts of people from every corner of the world. I then did a little wwoofing myself when living in Byron Bay, of all places ;-)
    That's awesome that you tried it out and I agree, it's the best way to learn how to grow your own veges, so much more so than what you would learn from a book etc.

  5. Good on you!! We always talk about hosting woofers as we know a lot of people who do so. It's a great way to teach and learn!

    If you have any questions about growing stuff locally my Mr is pretty on to it have you thought about the organic gardening cert 4 or maybe 3 at TAFE? Chef did it years ago and lOved it- learnt loads and loads. There is nothing he can't grow!

  6. What a great idea Megan. It sounds amazing and not to mention it looks delicious. And I can practically feel your passion for this through the screen!

  7. Very cool Megan, good for you. I'll look forward to seeing your journey on here this year!

  8. Lovely adventure and lovely pictures, looks like you had a really good day :)

  9. This is brilliant.

    I am going to add this to the list of things to do. Bravo!

  10. i totally thought this was reserved for backpackers. what a brilliant lesson in growing and such a good box of goodies as a reward. on my list now too, x ashley

  11. I love this post - how great are vegetables. I want to do this. Am off to check out the website now!

  12. Megan, I am pleased I came across your blog, and look forward to vegie growing tips. Congrats on your new resolve for this year.
    Jan, Northern Rivers.