Highlights and My Work Schedule

I found this opportunity through a program called WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms). Before I started, I was told that my main responsibility would be collecting buckets from the workers in the fields every 40 minutes. Then, I would bring the buckets of blueberries back to the shed to weigh them and record the weights. While I did plenty of that– my day to day work was much more varied. For the first two weeks, I spent most of the day picking the blueberries myself. But, once blueberry season was in full swing, the seasonal employees started. From then, I would sort, clean, and package blueberries; as well as do other things around the farm like planting more bushes or watering. One day I was even in charge of entertaining a group of kindergarteners who were visiting the farm.

Our days would usually begin around 7 am. According to WWOOF, I am supposed to work 6 hours a day. Most days I would work more, until 5,6, or even 7 pm. But, it was ok– I didn’t have anything else to do most days! Before I’d start blueberry work however, Sachika and I were responsible for sweeping in the house and hanging up or folding the laundry that was left out to dry.

It was the WWOOFing experience that everyone who WWOOFs should have. The schedule was clearly laid out, all the other rules were followed, and the hosts were so kind and generous. The farm is owned by an older married couple who speak as much English as I do Korean (read: not much), but their son who lives in California comes for the summer to help out. With him and the other WWOOFer from Japan, communicating was not an issue. One of the most memorable aspects of my time in Korea was the hospitality and generosity I expressed by my hosts. They were nice to me– making me vegan lunches and taking us out to dinner very regularly– but it was how they treated the seasonal workers that really stood out. The other WWOOFer Sachika told me that, like in America, immigrant farm workers often endured low pay and poor working conditions. It was unfortunately a common issue around South Korea. But, at this farm, the workers who were all from Thailand and Myanmar, were like part of the family. They would join us for a home-cooked lunch every day, and often came out to dinner with us. Tae, the farmers’ son, drove them all to and from work every day and would take them shopping for clothes.