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A Guide to Organic Volunteering

Volunteering Tips Continued:

Keep a good sense of humor: In life you never quite know what the day will bring, and the same is true for volunteering. Having a good sense of humor is important and will make your experience all the more enjoyable.

Keep your eyes and ears open: Many people appreciate volunteers who take initiative. This is best done by looking for where there is a need on the farm and listening. Always ask before beginning a job though, unless directed to do so.

Take time to look at the bigger picture: Many hosts began their farms with a larger vision of sustainability in mind. While you may only be on the farm for a couple of days to a couple of months, take the time to connect with the larger vision.

Be conscious of resources: It requires a great deal of resources and energy to maintain a farm or educational center. Be conscious of how you use any resources on site, including fertilizer, water, food and electricity. If you have a “special diet” (gluten-free, raw, etc.) speak to your host ahead of time to discuss whether you need to bring some extra supplies with you. While you may be exchanging lodging and food for your volunteer time, don’t assume that this entitles you to everything in the pantry. Hosting volunteers can actually be a drain on resources, especially in the case of small farms or non-profits.

Try to address any issues directly: Having an open line of communication is important. If there is something that is bothering you, find an appropriate time to address the issue.

Remember you are not staying at a resort: Be mindful to take short conservation showers each night and to keep your living space clean during your stay, as well as cleaning up after yourself when using shared spaces such as the kitchen or dining area. It is also respectful and considerate to clean your lodging before you leave so the space is ready for the next person to arrive.

Leave feedback: Many online volunteer networks allow you leave feedback on profiles, which will help future volunteers find good positions. If you have a negative experience, try to address this before you leave, if possible, so that you have the opportunity to hear the other side of the story. If you have a positive experience, leave feedback on your host’s profile that reflects this.

While the individual lessons each volunteer learns will be different, the potential to connect with the earth, your food and the greater global community is there for all. From beets and broccoli to kale and lettuce, there is a story, a farmer and an opportunity to learn. Get out there and get growing!

Related Posts:
10 Weeds Worth Growing
8 Garden Projects for Kids
Vegan Organic Fertilizers for Spring

Read more: Career, Community, Community Service, Conscious Consumer, Conservation, Diet & Nutrition, Do Good, Environment, Food, Green, Lawns & Gardens, Life, Make a Difference, Nature, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Activities, Technology, Vegan, Vegetarian, , ,

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Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati

Gentle World is a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. For more information about vegan food and other aspects of a vegan lifestyle, visit the Gentle World website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

24 comments

+ add your own
11:10PM PDT on Jul 10, 2012

mmm interesting!

7:02PM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

thanks

12:32AM PDT on Jun 13, 2012

thanks

3:01PM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

thx

7:21AM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

thx.

6:01AM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

Very helpful and detailed.

6:30PM PDT on Jun 6, 2012

Thank you!

1:28AM PDT on Jun 6, 2012

Thank you!

2:23PM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

thanks.

10:30AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

Thank-you for the article! I had never heard of veganic growing before but the alternative sounds rather vile. I clearly have a lot to learn. I will also use your tips in my own life - both in my day job and in the local volunteering that I do on a regular basis. Most of these tips are transferrable to a variety of situations. I already try to leave feedback (negative at source so it can be dealt with efficiently, and positive in a more wide-spread fashion so others can enjoy similar experiences) in all aspects of my life, from sports to restaurants to movies.

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