Sleeve. Paola and Clara decided to take a joint vacation at the estate

In Héauville (Manche), the Ferme des 1000 couleurs welcomes two young French Wwoofeuses who discover the experience. (© La Presse de la Manche)

PaolaNantes and ClaraGrenoble, they both chose botanical farm from surpassed for theirs first experience same as Woofers. On the program: picking, gardening, building an aromatic spiral and discovering natural dyes.

But Wwoofing, what is it?

The story of Woofing starts at England in in the 70s and has been gaining followers ever since. Practiced internationally, his principle is easy : voluntarily participate in the life of an organic farm, in exchange for room and board. Close to home or on the other side of the worldWwoofing is an opportunity to dedicate your time alternative holidays facing the other.

Cider farm, permaculture orchard, goat farming, organic grain farming, cheese making, gardening… In the department of Manche, the choice is great. About thirty farms open their doors every year volunteers looking for an extraordinary experience.

Between them, Farm of 1000 colorslocated at the address Heauvilleit already is he welcomed more than 30 Wwoofers in just two summers. The best y share your knowledge plant dyeing and the art of craft dyeing.

In numbers

Among the 2,345 farms registered in the Wwoof France association, 35 are located in Manche, 10 in Nord Cotentin. This is a very good figure compared to other French and neighboring departments: Calvados: 23, Orne: 19, Eure: 13. During the last few months, 4 new Mancho farms have joined the movement. As everywhere in France, the post-lockdown syndrome motivated applications.
The typical Wwoofer is between 20 and 30 years old, but there are more and more sixty-year-olds, driven by the need to stay active and discover other ways of life. The oldest French wwoofer is a 72-year-old woman. As for the Manchois wwoofers, there are 90 of them listed.

This one former lawyeroriginally from Turkey, he chose the Cotentin region for change life. After her health deteriorates and she discovers motherhood, she realizes that her everyday life in no way reflects her own values.

“The illness gave me the strength to change my life, and my child awakened in me the desire to return to the earth and nature. »

The best BonnardPaint master, manager of the 1000 colors farm

This one self-taught starts in ethnobotany,the study of the relationship between humans and plantsand discover ancestral coloring practice.

In his plot of one hectare, Besté nurtures, among other things, gode, madder, indigo and cosmos, from which she extracts bright and saturated colors to then print them on the fabric. Faced with the magnitude of the task, the farmer wanted to quickly surround herself and started tohome of Wwoofer. An experience he does not regret.

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“Wwoofing is a shared pleasure. We gather around the same values, and volunteers are motivated to get involved. »

The best BonnardPainting master, manager of the Farm 1000 colors

Wwoofers give an eye 25 hours of your time per week. It is possible that invest more, provided the request comes from Wwoofer himself. In exchange, the host gives them access to theirs lifestyle : he opens his house, transfers his knowledge, trains them in the specifics of his activity and makes them discover the region. Daily life is shared, meals are taken together, and the schedule is devised according to the wishes and capabilities of each individual.

To Paola and Clara, A typical day begins with opening the coop and feeding the chickens, then picking and watering before embarking on own project : building an aromatic spiral in permaculture. Theirs free timethey teach it walk around the property or to the beach.

This experience is also an opportunity to talk to volunteers and from meet farmers, craftsmen, artists and others, with different origins, stories and experiences. Enough yes open minds and a field of possibilities.

Orient yourself differently

After one landscaper training and an a hurried arrival in the world of workPaola, 26 years old, decided to take a sabbatical year in search of meaning.

“I found myself in the office and spend all my time on the computer, far from the field. »


She takes advantage of it break for chain experiences.

“The idea is to try as many activities as possible related to my studies and plants, but in such a way that I orient myself more towards the land, culture and creation. »


Paola has chosen several farms that grow tinctorial, aromatic plants, edible flowers and intends to continue Wwoofing after the summer season.

Clara, 24, originally from Grenoble but working at a public opinion polling institute in Paris, also spends her days in front of a computer scrolling numbers.

Wwoofing lets him do that turn off completely while on vacation “I have always been attracted to something ecology and tillage. In Paris, he visits places that work in this direction: urban farms, recycling, communal gardens.

Back to basics

With a conventional farmer parent who started in the 60s, the young girl remembers the characteristics of this activity that went againstecological interest. She led a campaign to return to respect for the country and products.

It’s not that easy. Neither for volunteers nor for farmers. ” It is responsibility and one commitment on our side. You have to be present for your Wwoofers,” says Besté. As for Paola and Clara, they agree that you have to be physically and mentally prepared.

“The work is intensive and it is not easy to get into the daily life of such people. »


The latter, moreover, took advantage online training (webinar), host Wow France to all volunteers before their first experience, so they start Wwoofing with the right keys in their hands.

“Because it has to be done, it is the human way of learning and discovering different ways of life, new regions. »


Typhanie MOINY

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