Learn Organic Agriculture
"A farmer needs to know a bit about everything."
Are you new to organic farming and what we call sustainable lifestyles? On this page we will try to give an introduction to it, and to some of the things you can learn by WWOOFing.
Organic agriculture is a form of agriculture where there is no use synthetic pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides) or commercial fertiliser to grow crops. This is a huge challenge to do in our environment and the farmers have learned many techniques that they apply to make it possible. Crop rotation, poly-culture and no-tilling are some of them.
Furthermore, if a farmer keeps live stock they should provide them with as natural living conditions and feed as possible. It is not allowed to use anitbiotics unless the animal is actually ill, or any other type of medicine to promote their growth.
This is a very broad description of people who try to live in a way that has a low impact on the environment. This usually means growing their own food, having alternative sources of energy, eco-friendly houses etc.
As a WWOOFer you will be able to choose if you would like to go to a farm that produces organic food for distribution or if you are more interested in going to help out at a smaller home stead. Most of the hosts are small-scale farmers.
Practical farming: Learn by Doing
- Horticulture: The process of growing produce is probably one of the first things you will learn at the farm. You will learn about soil quality, when and how to plant different seeds, how to help them grow and when to harvest.
- Caring for live stock: Many of the bigger farms have one type of live stock they specialise in. In Norway the most common is milking cows or sheep. However some of them, especially many of the homesteaders have a variety of animal life at the farm. Chickens, pigs, horses, goats or rabbits perhaps. You will learn "barn knowledge" like how and what to feed them, how and when to move them around and how to assist when they give birth. In addition to that you can learn how to milk and make dairy products, how to shed a sheep and spin wool, horse back riding, the real pecking order in the chicken coop, and much much more.
- Building and crafts: Fences, greenhouses, tool sheds, the barn. It all needs to be created or maintained. It is a new world to learn how different wooden materials bend, how to design a greenhouse or how to make a mobile chicken home.
- Food preservation
Exploring a new culture