The organic movement started in the early 20th century, in response to the growing use of chemicals in farming. Chemical pesticides marked a huge leap forward for large-scale farming, but many preferred to use more ‘natural’ farming methods. Today, organic products are big business in their own right.
Ethiopian farmers with the Water Wise Coffee program produce organic coffee – that is, no artificial insecticides and only natural fertilisers. They can also use the compost produced in the Water Wise coffee mills to enrich the soil and grow more coffee. It doesn’t get much more organic and sustainable than that!
So, how do you think you would fare on an organic coffee farm? Well, if you’ve ever wondered about it, we know a way you could find out… it’s called WWOOFing.
Willing Workers On Organic Farm (WWOOF) was started in the UK, back in 1971. In those days it was called Working Weekends On Organic Farms and it was founded by Sue Coppard, who was then working as a secretary in London.
Her idea was to provide volunteers — known as WWOOFers — to support the organic movement by providing free labour in return for board and lodging, and the chance to learn about organic farming. This exchange turned out to be hugely popular; there are now more than 50 countries with WWOOFing organisations.
And WWOOF has become more than just a volunteer farming program; it’s a real cultural exchange operating all around the world. It’s not a relaxing holiday though — the WWOOFers have to work to earn their keep.
The great thing about WWOOF is that it operates internationally. There are more than 11,800 farms that accept WWOOFers all around the world.
Of course, not all of the farms produce coffee, but there’s a whole load of awesome WWOOF farms in top coffee producing country Brazil that do.
Water Wise is not affiliated with WWOOF – we just thought it was interesting to share! If you want to find out more about WWOOF, then check out their website.