Dr. Terry to present PDBE colloquium on Volunteer Farming on 11/8 at 12:20
Friday, November 8, 2013
Dr. William Terry, Department of History and Geography, Clemson
“WWOOFing the Carolinas – Volunteer tourism as a model for building capacity in alternative food systems?”
This presentation focuses on growth of volunteer tourism and its impacts in the Carolinas, specifically with organic farmers employing volunteer workers recruited through the organization World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF). Volunteer tourism has become a “poster child” of the alternative tourism movement in the past decade as it seeks to avoid the socio-economic and environmental pitfalls associated with mass tourism. Yet the movement has not been without criticism, as some have noted its lackluster results in key areas, especially the extent to which benefits accrue to hosts. This research seeks to evaluate the value of WWOOF volunteering as it has been applied in the Carolinas with particular attention paid to the experience of farmers who host these volunteers. Here it is suggested that despite certain criticisms of the model there are both social and economic benefits associated with this peculiar form of tourism.