Over the past week or so Tanya and I have been WWOOFing at Grassroot organic farm in Penang. WWOOFing stands for Willing Workers On Organic Farms, or the more updated name of World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. WWOOFing is great, you spend somewhere between 5-12 hours a day helping out someone on their organic farm. In return for your labour, you get a place to sleep, food to eat and of course, an unforgeable experience. I can hear the skeptics now saying how this is not a great way to travel, but after seeing the sights for the better part of a year, having some meaningful work and local connection to the people and land is very enjoyable.
Grassroots Organic Farm main product is Durian. Durian is a spiky fruit about the size of a cantaloupe. It has the strong smell of rotting organic matter, and has a taste that some people love and others hate. Personally I love it, but a lot of people hate it (some hotels have big signs that say “No Durian Allowed”). If you go to Wikipedia you will find that some people describe the odor as pig shit, or sewage. It isn’t that bad, and if Tanya or I ever smell it again, it will instantly remind us of the last 3 weeks. The texture is similar to that of avocado and the taste is like nothing else.
Apart from the Durian, Grassroots Organic Farm has a lot of Bananas, a few Rambutans, and a handful of other tree producing fruits. Our days were mostly filled with us: cleaning durian, mulching bananas, gathering organic waste from the local market, feeding the chickens rotting durians, planting NFTs (nitrogen fixing trees), watering NFTs, mulching NFTs and building a rainwater capturing system. It was a lot of fun, and we were glad we could help Meishy and Sook Hwa out on their farm.