I started working on the farm back in March, and it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done.
After bouncing around from ecological research to science journalism, I realized that I was deeply, passionately interested in food, especially sustainable food. And what better way to learn about sustainable food than to work on a small organic farm?
Even if you aren’t looking for a full-time farm job like mine, there are plenty of ways that you can get involved with organic farming. Here are a few examples.
1. Crop Mob
A Crop Mob is an event in which a “mob” of agricurious individuals descend upon a farm for a day or an afternoon to help farmers that are in need of extra hands. Crop mobbers might help build a new greenhouse, transplant seedlings, dig potatoes, or harvest heirloom tomatoes – the kind of of labor-intensive tasks that can be completed quickly with dozens of volunteers.
Most crop mobs occur on the weekends, and you can volunteer for as many or as few mobs as you like. To find a Crop Mob group near you, check out this map.
WWOOF, or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is a global network that links people who want to volunteer on organic farms with farmers who are looking for help.
“WWOOF-ing” is an excellent way to immerse yourself in sustainable agriculture. I know several sophisticated organic farmers who got their start as WWOOF-ers.
You can WWOOF just about anywhere on the planet and, because you can find farms that will trade a few weeks of room and board for volunteer hours, it’s a great way to travel for cheap. Click here to find a WWOOF that interests you.
3. Farm Internships
If you’re serious about farming, a farm internship is the ultimate experience. In exchange for a lot of hard labor, you’ll learn what it takes to run a farm.
Most farm internships are full-time, but you can occasionally find part-time internships. While you shouldn’t expect to get paid more than minimum wage, you can look forward to free produce. Working on the farm has cut my grocery bills in half – and the food quality is much higher than what I could normally afford!
Click here to find a farm internship or apprenticeship near you.
4. Other Ways to Get Involved
Call one of your local farms, CSAs (community supported agriculture coalitions), farmers markets, or community gardens and ask about volunteer opportunities.