Wwoofing by the sea

Wwoofing by the sea (Photo credit: Peter Blanchard)

If you have a green thumb, need a vacation, and you are willing to work approximately 4 hours a day in exchange for room and board, WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms) may be your ticket to paradise.  WWOOF is an exchange program that started in the United Kingdom in 1971 for people at least 16 years old, who are interested in organic farming and travel.  You, the WWOOFer, pay your travel costs, but do pay any living costs, and the host farmers do not pay you a wage.  Rather, for a period of time predetermined by the WWOOFer and the host, you get hands-on experience in organic and sustainable farming, and the farm gets extra hands.

WWOOFing opportunities exist globally.  Those interested can WWOOF in the United States or abroad.  An excellent place to begin your WWOOF journey is at the website, www.wwoofinternational.org/.  This is a comprehensive site that thoroughly explains the program, requirements and rules for participation.  This site has links for both volunteers and for organic farms interested in participating in this wonderful program.  The site also includes links to specific WWOOF organizations in Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe.  This site specifically addresses any concerns one may have regarding security, VISAS, insurance requirements and even specialty farming opportunities.

WWOOF presents a great opportunity for summer vacations.  The host opportunities come in all sizes and shapes.  A review of the site shows that there even are opportunities for family participation.  What better way is there to spend a summer vacation learning something new and valuable as a family while also providing a service to the environment?  This would be a truly unforgettable vacation with an added bonus of free time to tour places of interest while making a difference in sustainable living.  This also is a great opportunity for high school and college students to enjoy unique cultural experiences during their summer vacations.

For anyone still planning a summer vacation, who is interested in learning about organic farming and who does not mind a few hours of work in exchange for room and board, WWOOF certainly should be a consideration.  With our busy lives and the constraints of urban living, we often are limited in the ability to learn many aspects of organic farming.  WWOOF links individuals interested in learning about organic farming with experts all over the world, who are more than willing to share their knowledge.  This truly is a great way to live green, be green.


Sources for this article:

1.  www.wwoofinternational.org/
2.  http://www.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/06/15/wwoofing.volunteer.farming/index.html

Atlantic Ocean shore at Longport, New Jersey

Atlantic Ocean shore at Longport, New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The summer beach season has opened officially on the east coast, and while we hear commercials, politicians and even President Obama declaring that the New Jersey shore communities are “stronger than the storm“, we must question the hasty rebuilding of shoreline communities and businesses in time to accommodate the tourist season as a show of strength versus  resilience.

Rebuilding homes in these communities, along with replacing board walks and amusement parks, definitely indicates resilience and determination to continue a tradition and industry that is crucial to the region.  However, these actions alone do not translate necessarily to strength, a required attribute to prevent such devastation during future storms.  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines resilience as “the capability of a strained body to recover the size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive strength”.  To that end, many of these communities are resilient in that they have rebuilt and reopened post Hurricane Sandy.  On the other hand, the concept of being stronger, by definition implies “an ability to endure stress, pain or hard use without giving way”.  It is questionable whether these communities, in their hasty return to open in time for the tourist season, actually adopted measures to ensure that they have greater strength than previously to withstand future violent storms.

An interesting and provocative source for  information on rebuilding after a devastating storm can be found in a paper released on December 12, 2012 by the Association of State Floodplain Managers, Inc.  This report “outlines some of the actions that communities, individuals, businesses, and state and federal officials can take to reduce the suffering, damage, and risks from events like Hurricane Sandy in the future.” Acknowledging the need to use the destruction caused by Sandy as a learning opportunity to avoid such damage and destruction in the future, this paper alerts us of the need to alter our reaction to violent weather disasters so as not to keep making the same mistakes.  As stated in the paper, despite the experience of several hurricanes,  including Andrew, Ivan, Katrina, Rita, Wilma, and recently Irene and Sandy, most of the nation still lacks an adequate “rebuilding policy to deal with situations when a large area is impacted by an extreme event.”

This reports details specific steps to take to reconstruct communities that are safer, and disaster resistant.  It specifically addresses concerns with deteriorating and poorly designed infrastructure.  Changes need to be made in the location of power grids and storm drainage systems.  Also, changes in land use, addressing density limits and only allowing open space compatible use is important to protect people in areas that are “100% guaranteed to flood again”.  Careful planning and implementation cannot be done in a hasty fashion.  To do so places these communities at the risk of new destruction during future storms.

As we celebrate the reopening of the Jersey shore communities in time for the beach season, local, state and federal officials must continue to work to make our communities really “stronger than the storm”, not just resilient to the storm.  To do so truly is to “live green, be green.


Sources for this article:


Contact: Patrick Halligan
LGBG by PMD United
Phone: (410) 533-4895
Fax: (410) 555-0000
2707 Summers Ridge Drive
Odenton, MD 21113



Live Green Be Green Announces Campaign Project Results

“A Buck and A Bag” tote drive proves highly successful with community support.

ODENTON, Maryland – June 6, 2013 – Live Green Be Green by PMD United today announced the completion of its first “A Buck and A Bag” Tote drive.  To get involved in the movement whose aim is to help rid Africa of plastic pollution, LGBG co-founders, Patrick Halligan and Michael Natale, partnered with Lori Robinson, an active Africa Adventures Specialist for the Jane Goodall Foundation and founder of Africa Inside.  

Through Africa Inside, Robinson collects donations of tarp- and canvas-material tote bags, those regularly seen in major grocery and shopping stores nowadays, along with monetary donations and accompanying notes written to the potential recipients.  This drive’s recipients will be villagers of Samburu, Kenya, as that is where Robinson will be heading to hand-deliver her donations – she’ll give a tote bag to every female villager who can show that she has collected 25 plastic bags, which would otherwise have been burned along with other trash or simply thrown about surrounding wildlife habitats, to exchange for one such re-useable tote.  

Live Green Be Green was approached by Robinson, and immediately decided to take a role in this great cause.  With its help, Africa Inside has seen increased public donations, including those from local Anne Arundel County schools, as well as corporate donations from the likes of Safeway and Target.  “People don’t realize when they’re not healthy or eco-friendly, it comes back around,” noted Patrick Halligan, explaining that “the more conscious you are of it, the easier it is.”  It is with that precise message and mentality that the LGBG team has had success in helping to grow Africa Inside’s donation program.  In discussing why his team chose to target school systems, he added, “This is a very global concept and problem that can be used as a gateway for kids to reach out.”  

As this collection campaign drew to an end, Live Green Be Green remains confident in its contributions to the cause.  In successfully collecting hundreds of tote bag donations, there is a potential to rid Africa of thousands of plastic pollutants from its Kenyan countryside.

For more information on Africa Inside and its mission, in this program and overall, please visit the organization’s website at http://www.africainside.org.