Organic; taking as much as possible into account

This includes part of an email we wrote to a WWOOFer in early 2010.

At the WWOOF Japan office we are building a network of diverse experiences. Some WWOOFers want only organic farms, and we have lots of organic farms, representing the majority of our hosts. But other WWOOFers want different experiences, examples of which include about how to make for themselves a sustainable organic lifestyle. Here is an account of a WWOOFer we met in early 2010. 

A young woman WWOOFer from the city wanting to move to a rural area herself, hungry to know what the issues are that she will have to come to terms with; availability of places for rent, whether there is farming land contiguous to homes for rent, or whether it will be necessary to rent a house and farming land separately; how to receive WWOOFers herself when she becomes a host; what if any work hosts do in addition to or other than organic farming that she can emulate to earn enough income to be self sufficient. If she decides to grow organic produce, will she do best by selling it as raw produce, or, by working to value add it into some forms of processed foods for sale; can she sell it at the roadside, or will she need to find buyers for her products. What produce lends itself best to being value added without capital expenditure on machinery. She was WWOOFing at a young single female WWOOFer's place, one of the reasons for which was to find out if the woman host was single out of choice, or whether she wanted to have a partner but couldn't find one in the rural area; the ramification for the WWOOFer being that if she leaves the city she might be subjecting herself to a life of being single. 

In most developed countries, rural areas are disadvantaged because young people are leaving for the cities, and those young people who stay are often bored for lack of opportunities; despite rural areas usually having more access to natural and organic foodstuffs. This highlights that sustainable lifestyles encompass more than only what we eat. It is too about what we think, new learning, and being intellectually and emotionally satisfied and sustainable. Only qualifying organic farms as worthy to be a WWOOF host then, fails to take into account all the issues people are faced with. 

Another host comes to mind; a retired public servant living alone with a passion for books and learning. There was no organic growing at his place. But many WWOOFers loved the experiences that could be had at the host. The man loved sharing his English and Japanese reference library with WWOOFers, and some WWOOFers could not get enough of it. 

There are many non-organic farming situations that attract WWOOFers, that are organic experiences and that do allow those WWOOFers to get below the veneer of tourism. Some WWOOFers from English speaking backgrounds value being in a home environment with only native speaking Japanese people, to maximize their learning to speak Japanese. 

We often have families WWOOFing together (man, woman, & child), and they often seek hosts that have young children; with a young child herself, looking after the host's children might be the only help the mother who is WWOOFing can give to the host, in exchange for staying and eating with the host, and having her own child exposed to the experiences the host's place facilitates. 

Some WWOOFers want an office situation because it is the area of work that they do. Some WWOOFers will go to a host's place because of the work done at the host is what the WWOOFer wants to learn about to further their own career, and that might be other than organic growing. 

Some WWOOFers might start out using WWOOF as an inexpensive means to travel and meet local Japanese people, but through the influence of grass roots and self sufficient lifestyles that our hosts are engaged in, develop an interest in environmentally responsible lifestyles. 

We just can't see it as the right thing to do, for us at the WWOOF Japan office to tell a host that what he or she is doing is not of the right worth, based on our views, or based on the views of another person, when the host is prepared to welcome WWOOFers to their place, to share learning with WWOOFers, is passionate about a lifestyle that is progressive, and some WWOOFers find going to the host's place worthwhile. 

WWOOF Japan  Honcho 2-jo, 3-chome 6-7, Higashi-ku, Sapporo, 065-0042  JAPAN
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