My 19-year-old cousin from Germany is visiting us (in Santa Barbara, CA) on her way from Hawaii to Guatemala. She’s traveling on a shoestring. What’s her secret?

She is learning about different cultures, and saving money, by working on organic farms. She doesn’t get paid, but the farm stays don’t cost her anything either (except, of course, transportation between places).

The farm in Hawaii was on the Big Island. She put in four hours a day, for six weeks, working in macademia nut orchards, and spent the rest of her time hiking and snorkeling to her heart’s content. Room and board provided.

She doesn’t have details yet about the farm in Guatemala, but she plans to be there in February. The friend she had been traveling with up to now stopped off in Riverside county, California, to work on another organic farm for a few weeks.

All of their farm stay arrangements are being made through WWOOF: World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.

WWOOF organizations publish lists of organic farms and gardeners that welcome volunteer help at certain times. Volunteers choose the hosts that interest them and make direct contact to arrange their stay. Volunteers usually live as part of the family.

WWOOF, a world wide network, started 38 years ago in the United Kingdom and has become an international movement helping people share more sustainable ways of living. Hosts and volunteers pay a small fee to support the program. In return for volunteer help, the WWOOF hosts provide food, accommodations and
opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles.

Check it out at WWOOF.org