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Spring 2010

WWOOF ESTONIA NEWSLETTER

Right now there are 18 farms and 348 voulunteers joined WWOOF Estonia.

This time in the newsletter ʛʛ Follow-up of WWOOF Summer Weekend 2009 ʛʛ WWOOF weekend in Autumn 2009

ʛʛ WWOOF Estonia’s Tartu representatives went to Estonian University of Life Sciences. ʛʛ Presentation in Eco-trade fair 2009 in Tartu ʛʛ Paper-making and calligraphy class

ʛʛ Feedback from the farms of WWOOF Estonia ʛʛ WWOOF Europe handbook

ʛʛ An article in the newspaper Võrumaa Teataja ʛʛ 3.th birthday and annual meeting

Follow-up of WWOOF Summer Weekend 2009 In the summer WWOOF weekend trip was far in the island, Hiiumaa Island, and we visited mainly a single farm, Alliksaare, but also went for 24 hours to Kalda farm Lepaniidi farm. The participants were eight young people interested in organic farming, among them an extraordinary number of young Germans, as many as five. We also met our own WWOOF member Joseph, who had stayd in Lepaniidi farm for a while.

Main activities in Alliksaare was rolling straw-balls, wool cleaning, cottage cheese making, weeding, hay raising, stakes for fences and the installation of all sorts of other minor activities such as eating, going to sauna and going to beautiful Hiiumaa beaches. Thank you everyone, especially farmers to help along and volunteers to participate. Both parties are needed for the high spirit. Photos can be found on our website picture gallery


WWOOF weekend in Autumn 2009 A small group of wwoofers spent a relaxing and interesting weekend in September at Palu talu in Viljandimaa. Our host Mikko Rahtola is one of the owners of that farm. They have a big appletree garden and they grow different vegetables to collect organic seeds. From the apples, which they mix with German and Finnish apples, they make organic juice in Finland that is quite popular. It won a prize as the best Finnish biological food product of the year 2009! And the man who was the „cook“ of that juice was also with us on that weekend. So, all the information about making really good juice was at our disposal.

on the table – it felt like being at under which some meat and grandmother´s place. potatoes were put to cook. After sauna we had dinner beside the fire under the starry sky.

Having eaten, we were anxious to get outside. Our tasks were picking pears and apples, collecting bean and raddish plants (for seeds) and We also went stargazing trying to putting them to dry. We also col- recognize the constallations and lected some rose hip berries. to see a falling star. All the arrangements and preparations to start working were done before us so efficiently and unnoticeably that all we had to do was just get started. It was really impressive and we are very thankful for the almost magical running of things there!

They day flew bye with sunbathing and meditating in the middle of the green. Three girls out of four We arrived on a Friday evening and got to do their very first tractor introduced ourselves over dinner. driving. The brakes were a bit There was Mikko our host, juice- tricky and added even more to the maker Antti-Jussi and hardworking overall excitement. And of course lady of the house Virve. a lot of applejuice drinking and The next day, our day of work, apple eating happened. started with a sunny sky and the When the evening came we were sunrays shining straight in from pleasanlty tired. Our host heated the windows. Porrage was already the sauna, we made a bondfire

A local farmer came to sit with us for a while, he said flegmatically that he was searching for his dog that had gone straying. When his wife called saying the dog was already home, he was suddenly in a hurry:). During our stay we felt really welcome. Mikko is a very energetic person, we had many interesting conversations and the atmosphere was creative. I would say it was a luxurious wwoofing experience. We all picked some organic seeds into our pockets. So 2010, here we come! Photos of the event are on our website: picture gallery

WWOOF Estonia’s Tartu representatives went to Estonian University of Life Sciences. 1On the 13th of October in the Estonian University of Life Sciences there began a subject about the main principles of ecological agriculture for the MA students of landscape protection and preservation. As the University supported some activities for WWOOF Estonia last year, in return we promised to go and speak a little about our organisation. This event began with Sirli Pehme, who talked about organic food in general, the usefulness of it, various research outcomes and showed recent years most important statistics in Estonia and in the world on that


subject. The lecture was very interesting and also created a advantageous atmosphere for talking about WWOOF, because after this noone could have a question ‘but why we need organic anyway?’ any more. By a interesting coincident the lecture took place at the same time as organic food degustation. The WWOOF Estonias Tartu representatives, who at first took a seat modestly in the very back of the room on a coach, soon unexpectedly found themselves in a paradise of organic vegetables, breads, cheeses and yoghurts, that found their way, after briefly meeting other people, on the table before them. Everything was tasty and the people listening to the lecture could hear throughout the entire time a quiet crunching sound behind their backs. WWOOF Estonias lecture also went convivially. Priit, who had to bring photos to show in the background, got there just a little bit before the lecture was supposed to start and, keeping the tension high, didn’t show himself before the beginning of the lecture. That gave the other speakers just the right amount of anxiety. After starting the photos we began spotaneously with questions, which showed that not many had heard about us before. According to this we focused our talk on introducing WWOOF and WWOOF Estonia in general. We talkeb briefly about the history, more about the goals, WWOOF organisations in the world and in the end about our own organisation. We introduced our web, farms, form for regitration and the possibilities of WWOOF Estonia. In adition to the WWOOF Estonias Tartu representatives (Ann, Tuuli, Priit) we had a german girl AnnaTheresa Leitenberger with us, who had wwoofed several times in Estonia and came to share her observations and experiences. After the lecture there were many apposite questions conserning the principles and the registration. In the end everyone was content and the general mood showed that we are doing a pretty right thing!

Presentation in Eco-trade fair 2009 in Tartu Priit, Tuuli ja Karin represented WWOOF Estonia in Tartu Eco trade fair seminar 28th of November, where they talked about what we do and gave information about wwoofing opportunities. They also shared our flyers and made acquaintance with potential new WWOOF farms. Emotions were great, they got positive feedback and energy to carry on. They met there 6 WWOOF farmers: Orapera Liisi, Läätsamäe Mati, Good Kaarma exponent , Kaja from Alt-Lauri farm, Mirja and Aavo from Murese farm and Kopra Karjamõis. They also found 5 new possible WWOOF farm, who right now have not joined, but hopefully soon:

Paper-making and calligraphy class On two Saturdays of December of last year the members of WWOOF were in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church making Christmas cards. The first time we went on an excursion around the church after which we started making paper. Old cotton fabric that is crushed with a special machine is used for this. Natural colorants (e.g. saffron) or crushed plants can be added to the mixture for decorating the paper. When the paper is ready it has to dry for about a week. After making the paper tea was served. The next time paper was ready so we could write our Christmas wishes for WWOOF farms on paper we had made ourselves! The ink we used was prepared locally from natural materials and an old-school quill had to be used for writing. Extra patience is needed for writing this way but the outcome is worth it while! Photos of the event can be found: picture gallery1 and picture gallery2


Feedback from the farms of WWOOF Estonia 18 nice farm have decided to join WWOOF Estonia during its 3 years of excistence. The coordinators of WWOOF Estonia have tried to get some feedback from the farms at least once in every year. The feedback is essential in order to get an overview what is the general experience on having volunteers in farms and accordingly find solutions how could WWOOF Estonia benefit into more effective socalled exchange process. Until now the feedback has been tried to receive via both, post (questionnaire and extra envilope + stamp included, so that the farmer could return the letter easily) and also phone. Allthough it demads more time from the farms`coordinator, calling has been more effective way of getting the feedback. Moreover, direct contact has the highest value and it also provides more information. Of cource it would be great if the coordinators had a change to visit all the farms yearly. Unfortunately that is not so easy and within 3-year springsummer-winter period only half of the farms have been visited (traditional WWOOF Weekends). Those weekends have been indescribably warmhearted and priceless event for both, the coordina-

tors of WWOOF Estonia and other volunteers. This beginning season we are planning to visit again at least 3 farms. In general, the feedback from the farms have been very positive. The enthusiasm of the farmers when speaking about their good experience with the volunteers is just breath-taking. Although the good cooperation between a farm and a volunteer depends on the activity and preparedness of both-side, still often one has to make a bigger effort. For instance there have been cases that the farmer does not speak English and when communicating with foreign volunteers, they have to use body language or must have a dictionary close-by all the time. Or anothr nice example – a French volunteer learned Estonian thanks to the fact that the farmer does not speak English nor French. In addition to the dominative positive feedback, farmers named also some complicated situations. In some cases the volunteers didn´t really understand that wwoofing is more than just spending time in a farm, incl. eating and surfing on Internet. They also mentioned that sometimes the volunteers confirm their coming but eventually don´t show up. To

sum up, the farms are prevailingly visited by foreigners, incl. Germans, French, Dutch, Latvians, Polish, English, Australians, Americans, Canadians, Swiss and one volunteer was from Israel. It is nice that the farmers have had an opportunuity to meet volunteers interested in organic farming form different culture and language background. At the same time, organic-hobbyist Estonians are also very welcome to visit the farms. Fortunately the tendency has grown and Estonians find their way to the farms more often than before. The farmers said that it would also be a great opportunity for the Russian speaking young people to get more familiar with Estonian language and culture. WWOOF Estonia wants to thank all the farmers for both, their positive and negative feedback – this is the only way we can impove our activities. We will be looking forward to your feedback also in the future. In any questions, please contact our farms` coordinator, whos contact data is available on our web-page. Next more thorough feedback asking session will take place in the end of 2010 via e-mail or on phone.

WWOOF Europe handbook With the cooperation and contribution of all the WWOOF organisations in Europe, there are plans to produce a book that gives member countries the opportunity to share with the rest of the world what makes WWOOFing in their country a wonderfully unique experience. It will be a practical, professional guide, but also a creative celebration of WWOOF in Europe. WWOOF Estonia is also taking part in this production by adding information about wwoofing in Estonia. We had to fill a questionaire with the questions below: ʛʛ A brief history of WWOOF in your country.

ʛʛ A general description of WWOOFing in your country – what makes it unique?! ʛʛ Contact information for your organisation & details of how to join. ʛʛ General information on the climate and landscape of your country (including broad geographical variations). ʛʛ What are the different kinds of rural establishments found throughout your country? How does the nature of work differ on each? We also sent compilers some stories about wwoofing experience in Estonia. Thank you very much for your writings and pictures, Ieva and Laura!


Spring 2010

WWOOF ESTONIA NEWSLETTER An article in the newspaper V천rumaa Teataja In the summer of 2009 Marianne Leht from the magazine V천rumaa Teataja wrote an article about two French teatcher who were wwoofing in V천ru County Roosu farm. They praised estonian sauna, because it is luxury to go to sauna in France. What bears upon estonian food, they liked black bread, sauerkraut and buckwheat porridge. The link to this article is below, but it is in Estonian: http://www.vorumaateataja.ee/?a=uudised&b=9544

3.th birthday and annual meeting Did you know that in march WWOOF Estonia celebrates already its 3rd birthday! It was established in march 2007 in the student conference called Talveakadeemia (Winter academy). Traditionally the celebration is held with the annual meeting. Everybody is welcome who want to take active part in this organisation. Information about the date and place will be on the website soon.


Wwoof newsletter March 2010