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past emails with the supposedly representational organization

Here, for the record are the emails I exchanged with the organization in the UK that claims to embody "free exchanges" while charging a fee themselves to both hosts and volunteers. 

2/2007

Hi, 

I’m Sue Seymour the director of WWOOF Independents responsible for following up on reports that one party in the WWOOF exchange is not keeping to their side of the bargain.  The underlying principle of a WWOOF exchange is that it is a non-monetary exchange of practical help in return for food and accommodation.  Your website clearly states that people have to pay $10/day to stay at Abundance Farm.  I’m sure many people have valuable experiences on your farm and think that your project is well worth supporting but we cannot continue to list you as a WWOOF host.  There are other organisations, helpx (or helpex?) and Organic Volunteers who may well be happy to list hosts who make a modest daily charge.

I expect we have had your website address for a considerable time and I am sorry that we did not realise the situation earlier. 

If you wish to discuss this decision please contact me: sueseymour@barkmail.com

Best wishes,

Sue

Sue Seymour, director WWOOF Independents

 

My response:

Hi Sue,
We are open to WWOOF guests staying without paying, but only AFTER they have complete 1-2 weeks as a paying guest. If you read our website carefully you will see this. Nowhere in any WWOOF documentation does it say that a wwoof host is required to provide the "free ride" from the very beginning, only that we offer a program. We tried offering a progam from the beginning like that. You know what? It didn't work for us. Being in Nicaragua is just too big an adjustment for westerners to be productive quickly. Many leave quickly before they even know how to haul a bucket of water. We could not continue that charitable service. The way we do things now works well. I think, rather than purging our farm, you might be wise to recommend our approach to other farmers.

The other farms in Nicaragua on your website list have all found the same thing, and they also charge for the introductory period. I know them all, I've been to them all, and I've talked with all of them about this. If you want to eliminate Nicaragua, go right ahead and eliminate us all (not that I am authorized to speak for them). My preference is that you change your website and your publicity to let all WWOOFers know that they should expect to pay a small daily fee for their introductory period at some wwoof hosts.
Peter Christopher
Abundance Farm

Peter,


A WWOOF visit is not supposed to be a 'free ride'.  WWOOF has been operating
for 30 years and the deal has always been an exchange of practical help in
return for board and lodging.  If hosts think that a significant adjustment
period is necessary they are encouraged to suggest a minimum length of visit
to enable them to recoup something for the initial period where 'green'
volunteers might not be able to pull their weight.
We will not be re-instating your host membership and will, in due course,
cancel the memberships of the other Nicaraguan hosts if, as you say, they
operate in a similar way.
With best wishes,
Sue

Sue Seymour, Director WWOOF Independents

Hypocritical organizations like that don't last.  They are replaced in the internet age by sites like the Free WWOOF host list site.

 

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