How this project begun and evolved
The idea of linking Wwoof hosts with non-motorized routes and to map them using the Ammappalitalia method begun in May 2014 by initiative of some members and friends of Wwoof: Basil Black, Dino Chiaraviglio, Niccolò Gori Sassoli and Marco Saverio Loperfido. An experimental meeting to teach people about mapping was promoted amongst Wwoof Italy members and took place in Cortona. During this meeting the project took shape and the first Wwoof route ("ViaWwoof") was mapped between two hosts.
The national meeting in Maratea
Given the great interest this project received, Wwoof Italy's board of directors promoted and supported a national meeting during one of the annual coordinators meetings, which in this occasion was held at a Wwoof farm in Maratea. This was the founding meeting (24-26 September 2014) of VieWwoof project. 30 volunteers from all over Italy took part, they learnt about mapping techniques and enabled this project to grow by contributing to it's organisational structure.
The work done by regional groups
After the meeting in Maratea several groups started to act locally in their respective regions with the aim to meet again and share their achievements in the following AGM that was held in March 2015. Each group produced at least one route.
During the months following the meeting, many members demonstrated willingness to cooperate and contribute actively. A group of volunteers across the country begun coordinating all the various organisational aspects such as communication, cartography, member involvement, hospitality and funding.
After the meeting in Passignano 2015
At the AGM held at Passignano sul Trasimeno (Pg) a second national meeting took place.
The evolution of the project and the promising results (50 Wwoof Routes mapped in 5 months) strengthened the cooperation between Wwoof Italy and Ammappalitalia. Due to the necessity of improving the way routes between farms where being shared and integrated with the rest of the content on the Ammappalitalia database, it was decided to create a new interactive map containing all routes. The map was created thanks to the voluntary work and to a financial contribution by some members. A specialised company helped develop a custom software. The council of the Wwoof Italy association granted this project with a funding of 1,750 Euros (made to Ammappalitalia) to support the creation of the map and also facilitated a loan made through a mutual financial cooperative called Mag6. At the end of September a fundraising project was launched to repay the loan.
Stabilization: Map, crowdfunding, forum, organization
After publishing the new map the VieWwooF project entered a new more concrete phase. In July 2015 out of 325 published routes on Ammappalitalia, 80 involved Wwoof hosts: two thirds of which connected hosts to each other. The other Wwoof routes linked hosts to train stations and nearby villages. In one year 15 mapping and promotional meetings took place across Italy. Some members undertook long-distance trails on foot connecting several hosts. Others experimented locally and simply connected several farm in the neighbourhood.
A forum was also created on the Wwoof Italy website to satisfy the desire to share these experiences, to facilitate mapping and promotional meetings and to discuss matters in depth.
A national meeting in Scansano, November 2015
Between the 5th and the 8th of November a second Wwoof Routes national meeting took place in Scansano (Grosseto). During this initiative a small network of paths was created connecting 8 hosts in the area.
The meeting was held at a farm called Podere Veranello, where about 40 people from across Italy broke up into teams and walked for two days mapping the routes between several farms. This meeting was brilliantly organized and produced such great results, we expect this to become a model for future meetings of this kind.
The evolution of the Wwoof Routes project depends on how the mapping of new areas continues and by new events taking place. The long term project is to expand the network of these routes (intended for feet, hooves and bikes) and connect them with other existing non-motorized routes and long distance trails such as the Alta via degli Appennini, the bike route Ciclopista del Sole, the Via Francigena, and the Cammino di San Francesco, etc.
For more information please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wwoof Italy members are welcome to join the forum too.