If you have a strong back, but not a lot of cash, and want to extend your travels in Argentina, the WWOOF, or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, program might be just what you need. The concept began in the UK back in 1971,has expanded all over the world, and is brilliant in its simplicity. Organic farms host volunteers to work from four to eight hours per day in exchange for three square meals and a bed. If all goes according to this framework, the farmer will get an extra set of hands, and you get the chance to work, live, and learn on an organic farm away from the hustle-bustle of big cities and their equally grand prices.
To be sure, this is no free ride. Farm work is some of the hardest work there is, but also very satisfying and typically in a place of breathtaking beauty. I worked for two weeks at Aldea Luna, a wonderful nature preserve and organic farm near the northern city of Jujuy. The boys cleared nature trails with machetes while the girls pulled weeds, planted and harvested vegetables, helped cook every meal for the big crowd of workers, and shoveled some horse poo from hither and yon to create new compost beds. The farm only accepts a certain amount of WWOOFERS, but you may also volunteer for four (instead of eight) hours a day and pay $30 pesos to cover meals, which are fresh and delicious.
However, not all WWOOF farms are created equal. You may preview the 50 or so of Argentina’s registered WWOOF farms and their descriptions on the WWOOF Argentina website, but if you want their contact information, you’ll need to pay the annual membership fee of $30USD (via credit card or PayPal). Be sure to contact a farm via email or phone before showing up. Many farms are far away from internet access, so include all of your questions, information, background, and dates in your initial email and do not be shocked if you only hear back from a few, if any, farms. Work out details such as the type of accommodations offered, as some farms only offer a space for you to put up a tent, the languages spoken, the kind of work you may be doing, what you should bring, and typical meals that are served. Once you’ve set up a time to be on the farm, get ready to get your hands dirty!