Paying for your next vacation in sweat
MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Going on vacation can be tough these days. Many people are unemployed while others are just scraping by. Now, a new organization is taking care of your "room and board" for free. All you have to do is get there and do a little farm work.
Not many people would consider working on a farm a vacation. But Cindy Myer Long is here at the Casa Rosa Farm in Madera, working on olive trees.
Rachel and Anthony Da Rosa have found willing workers for their farm online at WWOOF.org.
WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
Rachel Da Rosa: "We're not here to get hard labor out of these people. They're volunteers. They're here to learn."
Anthony Da Rosa "We try to get a v shaped patter on these trees."
Cindy Myers drove all the way from Pennsylvania during her two and a half months off from her farming job.
Yes, she's a full time farmer, taking vacations on farms, to learn more about different crops.
Cindy gets a free room and meals in exchange for about 20 to 30 hours of work a week.
Cindy Myers: "First, it's inexpensive. Second, I really love farming."
Cindy and 12 others have come to Da Rosa's Farm in Madera. It's a popular choice for WWOOF because of the type of crop they're growing. They're olives for organic olive oil.
Cindy and other WWOOFers pay 30 dollars to get access to the website and all the participating farms, pay on a sliding scale from five to fifty dollars.
The non-profit organization had close to 11-thousand volunteers last year, with 15-hundred host farms. About 30 of those are here in the Central Valley.
WWOOF is growing with the increased demand for organic foods spreading throughout the country.
Leo Goldsmith: "It is definitely experiencing a resurgence. A lot of people are interested in experience in understanding where food comes from."
Cindy will spend about two weeks here at the Casa Rosa Farm, and move on to the next stop on her vacation on the central coast before heading home. The Da Rosas expects more WWOOFers to come through their farm, before their first harvest next year, passing along lessons that will spread throughout the U.S. and the world.
Rachel Da Rosa: "Farming is hard work. I think that's the one thing they take away. That food isn't magic and food doesn't just appear on the table.
Farming takes a lot of hands, a lot of work, and sometimes, a few new friends.
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