tea plantation

Farm Stay Programs for the Millennial Traveler

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 Tea plantation photo via Shutterstock

By Diana Smith

Finding a way into the heart of any culture can be a challenge even for the most experienced traveler. Sometimes it’s that we move so quickly through a place that we end up only grazing its surface. But sometimes, even when we are fortunate enough to find ourselves planted in one place, fostering an immersive experience can still be difficult. Working or volunteering is one of the best ways for travelers to insert themselves and learn more about a culture, and farm stay programs are a popular way for students and post graduates to do just that. While participants typically work on farms or ranches in exchange for room and board, farm stays also provide travelers with the opportunity to learn a new trade, practice a new language, make close friends, and contribute to a community. There are several farm stay programs all over the world and here is a list of some of our favorites.

AgriVenture

This farm work placement organization matches participants’ experience levels with an appropriate program. All levels of experience welcome and prices are all-inclusive!

COUNTRIES: Primarily Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, New Zealand, the United States.

PROGRAMS AVAILABLE: Agriculture and Horticulture. Special requests can be made for programs in equine, viticulture, and bee keeping.

PROGRAM LENGTH: 4-12 months on average

AGE REQUIREMENTS: 18-30

COSTS: $4100 – $5200 program fee, plus personal expenses

ADDITIONAL INFO/REQUIREMENTS: Interview required as part of application process. All-inclusive price includes flight, accommodations, transportation, insurance, and visa fees.

CAEP – Communicating for Agriculture Exchange Program

Interested in career in agriculture or horticulture? Perhaps winemaking? CAEP offers training programs and internships for those who have a demonstrated interest farming. College credit may be received and some programs provide a monthly stipend as well.

COUNTRIES: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States

PROGRAMS AVAILABLE: Agriculture, Horticulture, Equine, and Enology

PROGRAM LENGTH: 3-18 months

AGE REQUIREMENTS: 18-30 (21-35 for some programs)

COSTS: $1500 – $3000 program fee

ADDITIONAL INFO/REQUIREMENTS: Application requires a demonstrated interest, prior work experience, or a degree in the program you are applying for. Room and board is included in price. 

HelpX – Help Exchange

The craigslist of farm stays, only way cooler! The website lists a variety of farm and other seasonal work from all over the world. There’s something for everyone on HelpX. The website also provides a space where participants can find travel companions.

COUNTRIES: Worldwide. Primarily Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, and the United States.

PROGRAMS AVAILABLE: Organic Farms, Non-organic Farms, Ranches, Lodges, B&Bs, Hostels, Sail Boats

PROGRAM LENGTH: Varies

AGE REQUIREMENTS: 18 and older, unless accompanied by a parent

COSTS: Participants must pay for visa, insurance, travel and personal expenses. Some hosts ask that participants cover a portion of food costs. HelpX premiere membership subscription is 20 Euros for two years (standard membership is free).

ADDITIONAL INFO/REQUIREMENTS: Accommodations and meals provided by host. No previous work experience required unless specified. 

WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms

In operation since 1971, WWOOF offers organic farming programs in over 100 countries. The main website provides links to each country’s own national WWOOF website, where a list of farming opportunities can be found.

COUNTRIES: Worldwide

PROGRAMS AVAILABLE: Farming and Housework

PROGRAM LENGTH: 2 weeks on average, however participants can stay longer.

AGE REQUIREMENTS: 18 is the average minimum age, however some countries allow participants to be 17 while other countries require a minimum age of 20.

COSTS: Up to $72 for a WWOOF subscription fee. Participants must also cover their visa, insurance, travel and personal expenses.

ADDITIONAL INFO/REQUIREMENTS: Meals and accommodations provided by host.

Chile Inside

A great option for those with an interest in working on horse ranches or farms with other animals. Chile Inside asks that participants have functional Spanish speaking capabilities, making the program ideal for those who wish to strengthen their language skills.

COUNTRIES: Chile

PROGRAMS AVAILABLE: Agriculture, Horse Farms, and Zoos

PROGRAM LENGTH: 2-6 months recommended

AGE REQUIREMENTS: 18 and older

COSTS: $590 – $700 program fee (based on a 2-6 month range), plus visa and personal expenses.

ADDITIONAL INFO/REQUIREMENTS: Accommodations, meals, maps, and guidebooks included in price. Spanish speaking skills required. Horseback riding experience is a plus but not necessary.

Earth to City

From the mountains to the jungle to the coast of Ecuador, Earth to City offers a variety programs. Each farm stay is a structured immersion program designed to ease in participants over a five-day period. After five days, if participants wish to stay longer, Earth to City guides and coordinators can help with finding additional and suitable volunteer work.

COUNTRIES: Ecuador

PROGRAMS AVAILABLE: Farming, Fishing, and Wildlife activities

PROGRAM LENGTH: 5 days. After 5 days, arrangements can be made to stay longer.

AGE REQUIREMENTS: None. Children must be accompanied by adults.

COSTS: $280 – $330 program fee, plus airfare and transportation.

ADDITIONAL INFO/REQUIREMENTS: Accommodations, meals, activities, and a language and culture translator included in the program price. Optional Spanish lessons offered too.

 

Diana SmithAbout the Writer

Diana Smith is a Brooklyn-based writer and photographer originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to her travels in Europe, she has also explored the US, adventuring from coast to coast and back again by way of the road. When Diana isn’t road-tripping she volunteers with a non-profit AIDS organization in New York City. Diana holds a BA in film and media studies from the University of California-Irvine and an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. To view more excerpts from her travels visit RoadsAmerica.com or find her on Twitter @Roads_America.

 

Feature photo of tea plantation via Shutterstock

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