WWOOF stands for World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms”. People volunteer on organic farms in exchange of food and accommodation. The volunteers travel to different parts of the world not only to work in the farms but to learn other cultures too. As the volunteers work in farms then they are automatically connected with the nature. I selected the video project title “Sustainable Tourism at Alpacas Farm” because this was closely related to my study project „tourism and travel tourism.” The idea was to go deeper in this topic by visiting one of the farms and asking people how they are connected to this work. Do they think it is an alternative to traditional way of tourism? Why do they do WWOOFing? These were the questions which I wanted to explore in my story.
WWOOF Deutschland – a charity organization
I became interested to know about WWOOF Deutschland activities because of their nature-friendly work. WWOOF Germany was founded in 1987. It is a charity organization and registered as “Freiwillige Helfer/innen auf ökologischen Höfen. e.V.” WWOOF Germany administers a list of organic farms, gardens and smallholdings that offer food and accommodation in exchange for practical help on their land. WWOOF facilitates contact between farms and interested volunteers. The volunteers are required to register at WWOOF Germany in order to travel to organic farms. For me, it is a wonderful combination of eco-friendly nature through travel and tourism.
Alpacas Farm near to Cologne-Bonn region
I sent E-mail to WWOOF Germany office which based in Dresden). A few days later I got an E-mail reply from Mr. Jan and he provided me some farms’ addresses based in North-Rhine-Westphalia. I wrote E-mail to all the contacts provided, and luckily got positive reply from one of them. The name of the farm is called “Alpaka des Westens”. The farm is located in Windeck-Kohlberg, approx. 60 Km away from Bonn. The farm is a 5 hectare of greenland where they breed Alpacas (domesticated species of South American camelid) animals. I exchanged some E-mails with the land owner and she agreed to help me for the project. She told me that there was a volunteer coming on holidays with her boyfriend who she also had volunteered at her farm during last summer. The volunteer name is Anna, 31 years old, a primary school teacher from Ingolstadt in Bavaria province. The farm owner told me on the phone that she was running her farm to promote sustainable tourism and not for business profit.
I visited the farm with one of my nice friends, So Min from Korea, to help me in holding the external mic. The farm owner was kind enough to receive us from the railway station and we headed towards the farm. It was very bright sunny day. I took some shots with Alpacas in and outside the farm. I also managed to interview with the volunteer and farm owner. I had some real challenges of extreme shiny day with heavy winds. Somehow, I managed to survive according to given recommendations by the trainers during our practice week. I was done with all my recording in a same day.
I had transferred the video files to MacBook by myself. It was kind of nice experience to know the basic technical things. There were around 90 short video clips. I tried to put as many interesting visuals as I could. The story of Anna felt quite emotional due to her love and passion with Alpacas. But I really felt sorry in cutting some useful information by the land owner due to time limit (max. 4’00”). It was a big challenge for me where to assemble them in a proper manner. I really enjoyed learning and playing with different options in Final Cut Pro 7 software. I had to do a lot of work on narration part. I done the narration from the sound recorder and felt some difficulties in fixing the clips properly in timeline.
It was such a great experience all in all! I would love to plan my holidays to do WWOOFing this summer. Do you?