I arrived in Italy thanks to the University of New Hampshire in the USA, which organizes some 2-3 month internships in Italy as part of the "Eco-gastronomy" training. After this experience I wanted to return for a longer period to a farm I knew and so I discovered WWOOF.
I shared all aspects of the art of living with sobriety in the countryside and I learned many self-production practices. For example, I understood the wheat cycle: it starts in the autumn with the sowing of a mixture of different varieties, then in summer the crop is brought to the mill. With the flour obtained I learned to make sourdough bread, pasta, desserts according to what we needed. The bran and the husks of the wheat instead went to the hens so that they gave us good eggs and a bit of meat when, alas, it was time to slaughter them.
In the vegetable garden it was exciting to follow each cycle from the birth of the seedlings in the seedbed heated by the hens, up to the harvest in the field of vegetables that went directly to the table or the fruit for the production of seeds for the following year. Right there in the garden I learned the importance of managing rainwater: with a pond as a reserve and a good mulch with the straw from our wheat, you can guarantee the water needs without using water from the communal network. From the energy point of view, the wood and solar panels helped us to not to depend on external supplies and I have experienced that it is much more fun to cut wood than to... pay the bills!
Talking of waste, I have to say that by reducing your purchases you produce very little waste: between the animals and composting everything ends up in the closed cycle of the farm without using trucks and landfill.
The secret to not buying? Eat what is there!
If you do not think so, you need to imagine what marvelous ravioli you can make with your own flour, vegetables from the garden and the ricotta from the neighbour ... In fact we often exchanged our surplus with other foods produced on farms around, for example milk and cheese. This is another important aspect of self-sufficiency for food sovereignty: networking with those who live like you, around you.
The summer period has just begun, a time when there are many of you WWOOFing and for this reason many hosts are fully booked. To find a solution that is right for you, if you have not found it yet, you can consult the summer list
When you search the complete list you will find the hosts that still have availability in the summer are marked with the icon of the sun.
We advise you to also check the time the hosts take to answer to avoid dispointment and to let hosts know promtly when you have to change plans to give them time to find substitute help.
I live in Pistoia and I recently graduated in Agricultural Sciences. WWOOF has always been for me the best way to integrate university studies, which were very much lacking in the practical aspects. In 2017 I wanted to experiment with straw bale construction: it is a healthy, insulating, breathing material with a low environmental impact ... in short, a waste that becomes a precious useful resource.
With WWOOF I learned
After graduating from the University of Bologna with a degree in Geometry, I was feeling out of my element and so, nearly by accident, I decided to explore the world of everyday life. I signed up for WWOOF, but it was winter, and many hosts don’t take WWOOFers during this period and so I ended up with the only host that would take me in, Mario at the Finocchio Verde farm.
From this unexpected beginning, a passion was born; I discovered that I liked spending time with animals, the work, the rhythm of this new life. For someone who fears the monotony of work, it was refreshing to taste every season and all of the different phases of production.
This multifunctionality, so common on small scale farms, was what WWOOF had to offer me, and so for two years I traveled around Italy, looking for farms that could offer me specific experiences and knowledge. I stayed in 5 different farms learning how to make seedlings at a plant nursery, salami, olive oil and bread.
During this experience I discovered that I was a farmer, and I started dreaming of my own place where I could put to use all that I had learned. And it just so happened that, in that moment, there was the possibility to rent a plot of land…
So together with my wife Stefania, we created from nothing our small goat herd, focusing on the production and sale of goat cheese. The best part is that we are not alone; in this small part of Liguria in addition to visits from WWOOFers, we are part of a small network of 5 WWOOF farms that help one another by exchanging goods as well as helping out.
And in the middle of this adventure, Gioele was born, who is already 2 years old!
The Global Launch of the United Nations Decade of Family Farming (2019-2028)
27-29 May, 2019
FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy
The U.N. General Assembly has officially declared 2019–2028 the Decade of Family Farming. Initially proposed in October 2017, the resolution passed with 104 co-sponsors and unanimous approval. The Decade aims to inspire the international community to generate a refreshed political commitment supporting family farmers and crafting pro-family farming policies.
The resolution acknowledges family farmers as key leaders in the pursuit of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically in “ensuring global food security, eradicating poverty, ending hunger, conserving biodiversity, achieving environmental sustainability, and helping to address migration.”
You can meet a girl that only after a week of knowing one another, your heart is opened by sharing secrets, and you feel as if you are her best friend chatting the night away telling secrets, sitting on the terrace.
You can find a WWOOFer like you, with whom you can decorate a Christmas tree and create a makeshift cake pan with a vegetable mill, cooking it in the fireplace and feeling like siblings.
You can find a mother that worries about you, concerned whether or not you are eating enough, who makes you sandwiches for the road, who calls you, who asks if you have arrived safely.
You can find people who make you feel as if you are at home, even when there isn’t hot water and there are mice who share a room with you, Those who make you feel as if it might be better to spend Christmas with them rather than your own relatives.
For all of these reasons, with WWOOF, I have learned that family is much larger than we ever thought.
Eelke was a WWOOFer here first 5 years ago. I asked him if he could clean out the rainwater tanks for the garden which were filling with earth as the water came from the ditches. He started and said ‘this is clay I will make you a pizza oven’! And he did! I learnt an enormous amount about alternative technology and permaculture from him and his wife Cora (who made a synergic garden for us) They are very special friends
Never say never, never say forever ...
After many years of enriching and demanding work in the field of Mag6, of which WWOOF Italia is a member, I felt that I needed a change and to start something new.
But where to start ? How to reinvent yourself after so many years? And so I began to walk between WWOOF hosts and arrived at Carpe Diem in Chiassaia di Loro Ciuffenna (AR).
Here I was able to get really close to goats and dairying: Niccolò and Chiara gave me confidence and opened up their home and ... their barn ;-) For two months I took the beautiful goats out to graze in the woods in that land which is still wild - the Pratomagno; Chiara taught me to recognize them, to call them by name, to try to understand them.
With Niccolò the barn was always perfect and the milk arrived in the dairy for transformation into cheese.
I fell in love with it all and I learned a lot: I find it alchemical the transformation of milk into the many forms that it can take: fresh cheese, tome, taleggio, ricotta, etc.
Since then I am still on my travels and I do not know when I will stop.
Dear WWOOF Italia Members,
you can find below the convocation of the meeting. As many of you have found at past meetings this is a focal part of the life of the assosiation as it puts together exchange, education, growth and openness towards the local community.
Important decisions for the life of the Association but also for the increase in the quality of relationships between members, to support the implementation of joint projects, for the increase of environmental and social sustainability.
This year we are alo celebrating our 20th birthday on the Saturday evening with a festa with
This is all interspersed with moments of conviviality as you can see from the programme. We hope many of you will come, please make reservations by completing the
The program may be subject to some variation
This year we will return to Il Girasole di Rispescia
Other useful information:
To help the organization…please complete the module
|Compila il Modulo di Iscrizione|
WWOOF Italia members
are invited to
The AGM (annual meeting)
Saturday 9 March 2019
from 10 to 13
- Presentation and voting of the Budget 2018 and prospective budget 2019
- Approval of changes to the charter
- Presentation of the new prototype for the new web platform by Basil Black (President of WWOOF Italia and WWOOF Independents) and Alessandro Webmaster WWOOF Italia
15,00 - 19,30 with coffee break
- In-depth groups on various topics such as CSAs and business networks, farmers' organizations, framework law on agriculture, animal traction, sustainable breeding and management of pasture, land and succession. We will have members who have experience on these topics.
ViaWWOOF, social agriculture, host registration procedures and custody of territories
20,00 - dinner, festa, lottery followed by
21,30 music and dancing to celebrate 20 years of WWOOF italia with
Sunday 10 March
9 to 11
feedback from work groups, closing of the meeting.
From 11 to 16,30
For the WWOOF Italia council
President Basil Black
Hoping to see many of you there and wishing you a happy meeting
for more INFO contact
email@example.com - Tel: 0565 763808 - Mobile 329 0806234
I was at friends of Antichi Grani in Umbria registered as WWOOF hosts, when in the early months of 2018 I became aware that I wanted to revive the small vegetable garden behind the house and create some flower beds, inspired by the techniques of dry far- ming, a practice that I learned on different WWOOF experiences. Dry farming, as its name suggests, reduces the amount of water needed for irrigation, even in the hottest months, through the use of biomass (wood, sawdust, canes, prunings, and waste from fo- rest cleaning) which is partly buried and partly put on like a mulch. The effect created is a kind of 'sponge' that keeps the soil aired so that no rot develops. In addition, the 'sponge' ensures the absorp- tion of water when it is in excess (from rain or irrigation) and the slow release when it is in default (for example in periods of drou- ght). These ideal conditions of hydration guarantee the decay of organic matter in a healthy way, with the formation of hyphae and
Thanks to the contribution of everyone in the work and in the planning we were able to dedicate ourselves to create a dozen raised beds. Once the digging was done and the necessary ma- terials were collected, we started with the actual construction. Proceeding slowly but steadily over a few weeks we managed to finish (but not refine!), and were able to confirm, thanks to the rain and snow in the following days, it worked really well! In fact in this area the soil is clay and there is always the problem of not being able to retain the water that runs off the surface. With this spon- ge effect, we immediately noticed that the water remained where it was needed.