Summer Letter to the Gardener

Jun 24, 2024

How Communities Help Us to Thrive

Farming can be very hard. Merely growing food and caring for farm animals throughout the entire year requires a tremendous amount of knowledge and work ethic.

I experienced it myself when I started my own agricultural project a couple of years ago. I swiftly understood that despite my years of experience as a farm employee and an agronomist, the learning curve would be quite steep. My goal was to find ways to live a life that is less dependent on the industrial food system, while also diminishing consumerism in the process. That said, I realized that trying to do so would require a great deal of creativity and resourcefulness.

This pushed me to look for help. I wanted to join a community made of members facing similar challenges to mine… and I did. I was lucky enough to find a local organization of small farm owners, all aiming to promote ecological and regenerative agriculture. 

Finding a network that provided me with support and resources was incredibly valuable. To be completely open, however, above all else, it reduced my sense of isolation when confronting daily challenges. While I knew that farming would be hard, I did not expect how lonely it would feel sometimes. Regrettably, we are aware that loneliness is quite common in the farming world.

That’s where communities come in. The truly amazing part about communities is that they can have both tangible and intangible benefits for their members. Meeting like-minded people truly helped me in feeling happier and more fulfilled. More than that, I found meaningful friendships. Yes, a support network can provide you with resources that you wouldn’t have if you were alone, but it can also give you a sense of belonging.

When I left the farm on my own journey of self-discovery, I found that community again, this time through WWOOF. With WWOOF, hosts and WWOOFers gain practical skills from each other by working and living alongside each other. But I, like many others, found that WWOOF allows one to make connections and gain a sense of belonging they never had before. As stewards of this community, facilitating those positive connections is the best thing we can do.

A community is a group of people that share similar interests and beliefs, but can still come from totally different places and backgrounds. WWOOF members come from all around the world, but are unified in their belief that we should all have access to local, ethical and organic food. It’s that belief that connects us, allowing us to embrace our differences.

I am convinced that engaging in a community like WWOOF can offer so many great advantages. Why go solo when we can thrive surrounded?

Together, we are all striving to create a lifestyle that reflects our ideals and values, contributing at the same time to our personal and collective growth. We are growing and adapting together, and there is much beauty to commemorate in this journey.

Catherine,
WWOOF Coordinator

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