Oct 27, 2021
This is something that I want to turn into a full article sometime, with more details and photos.
WWOOF - World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms
In 2019, I went WWOOFing with a friend for a week in the rural mountains of Kochi, Japan.
We volunteered at an organic farm for a week that was off-grid. Imagine living 2-3 centuries ago, where there was no electricity or running water. We didn't have a refrigerator. The toilet was in an outhouse with a hole in the floor. Business was done in a bucket of sawdust, which was kept for fertilizer. Being organic, they didn't want any chemicals in the soil from toothpaste, shampoo, and other modern amenities. We made do with natural solutions. Heat for cooking and bathing was done with wood fires.
Each day, we did a different task to get an idea of the many different jobs that needed done:
  • weeding the garden
  • gathering river sediment and mixing with soil
  • planting seeds
  • preparing vegetables
    • cutting off ends of dried zenmai
    • grinding corn
    • collecting taranome and cutting for meal
  • chopping down trees
The family was a British man who grew up in South Africa, his Japanese wife who he met in India, and their 5-year-old daughter.
They would talk about their self-sufficient life not dependent on supply chains. The advantages of this became obvious to me with all the shortages during the pandemic.
They talked about how the healthiest food is local and seasonal. Refrigerators don't allow food to breathe. Fermentation is a natural process of preservation which is a lot healthier, and what human bodies have adapted to.
It was fun playing with the daughter. She didn't have many friends. The parents were worried about her lack of social contact while still keeping her away from the harms of modern convenience. Homeschooling isn't allowed in Japan, so they were having to make a difficult choice of what to do for her schooling.