If you like living in nature and rediscovering the pleasure of manual work, there is a way to travel to Italy across its organic farms.
“When your hands are busy your heart is serene” wrote the Japanese artist Akira Yoshizawa.
Sometimes only the real work, near the earth, nature and animals, makes us feel very gratified. Who has not ever find themselves dirty and exhausted after a day of work in the garden, but tired in a pleasant way, happy and satisfied?
Farming the land we found again our most profound reality, feeling ourself completely dependent by the ecosystem of which we are part. We feel live and gratified, we return children and we learn new things.
Picking fruit and making organic jam, digging in the garden, taking care of the goats, cows or pigs, collecting honey, learning how to make cheese or organic wine can be more memorable than a stay doing nothing in a Spa.
Sue Coppard knew it, when in 1971, in order to escape from the stress of London (where she worked as a secretary in Resurgence magazine), she had worked on a farm in exchange for hospitality.
From this simple experience of a weekend of more than 40 years ago – that she remembers as “Idyllic” – was born a worldwide movement that now includes over 12,000 organic farmers and thousands of volunteers around the world, crossing continents and cultures to learn to live more sustainable and responsibly.
WWOOF (acronym for “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms”) is today an international big project that involves many associations, one for each country interested.
In Italy there are more than 300 organic farms, where you can stay in contact with nature, discovering regional traditions, seeing live how do the products of excellence of italian cuisine, making new friends, experiencing something truly authentic.
Board and lodging is offered in exchange for a day’s work on the farm. Stays available from one weekend to many years, and with hundreds of hosts available there’s an opportunity suitable for everyone.
Valentina Miozzo, owner of the organic farm Cà Penelope, near Modena, for six years to date has accommodated travelers “WWOOFers” from all over the world. Meeting many Americans, Australians and Canadians, who wishes to see organic farming, live in contact with nature, discover the rich culture of food and wine of our country.
“I often find myself doing ravioli, lasagne and cakes with foreign girls very curious to learn the secrets of Italian home cooking – says Valentina – the Wwoof is a great way to experience the culture of a country, the rural culture that not is located in the tourist guides.“
In order to participate (such as farm host or as a traveler), simply subscribe to the site www.wwoof.it/en/, paying the membership fee of 25 Euros per year (which includes insurance coverage for accidents or medical care). In this way you’ll get the complete list of farms offering free hospitality in Italy, and you will contact them directly.
Good holidays as a farmer!