Will Farm for Food: Work Exchanges Abroad

Every once in a while, I dream of being an organic farmer — romantic notions that disperse when I realize the level of commitment and unforeseeable changes that lifestyle would demand. I usually sum up my daydreams the same way I might an exotic vacation spot: It’s a nice place to visit, maybe, but not to live.

But what if I could combine the dream with a vacation? Wrangle dirt all day, follow a meal from field to fork, work my heart out for a week or so…

Well, a while ago I bookmarked the site Help Exchange, in a folder called “Vacation.” It’s a directory of hosts who will put you up (and usually feed you, too) in exchange for farm or garden work — on a goat farm in Tuscany, for example, or in an olive orchard in Greece. A lot of places offer exchanges year-round, and, although the issue of work visas can come into play, there are ways of getting around it, by tacking on a period of work exchange to a regular vacation stay, for example. Sounds like a great way to extend a vacation, to me.

And then you get to garden, too. Work can be play.

Leave a Reply