Bay Branch Farm

a vegetable farm in lakewood and cleveland, oh | we grow food

Our first WWOOF experience


A couple weeks ago we hosted our first WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) volunteers. I have to admit, I was a bit anxious about the whole thing. A fellow farmer in the area had worked with WWOOF and had success with volunteers last season, so I posted our farm and explained the kind of assistance we might need. The couple we were hosting planned to come in mid-March and it has been a wet, cold March capped off with a snow storm that left 5″ on the ground right before the volunteers were to arrive. Thankfully, the snow melted before they arrived, and the temps even rose to 60 degrees one day later in the week. More importantly, the volunteers, Phil and Becky, were indispensable. They worked really hard and completed tasks with limited supervision. We had a list that without their help would still likely be incomplete. During the week they spent with us, they helped plant seedlings, prep beds with sand and compost, dig a trench, pick up and move rocks, and assist in building a hoop house. And, they did all of this while also helping other urban farmers in the community. So grateful to WWOOF and Phil and Becky. Not only did they help us on the farm, but they are also really cool, down-to-earth people who were a joy to have around.

Phil making soil blocks.

Becky and Eric building the hoop house.


5 thoughts on “Our first WWOOF experience

  1. Do you ever have a need for local volunteers?

    • Hi Christine,

      We are certainly open to having help from local volunteers. We are generally on the farm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and after work (usually after 5 pm) on other days. Feel free to contact me directly at to discuss ideas further.



  2. Cool! I love WWOOF; glad it worked out for you guys as hosts!

  3. Nice work! I just read a good chunk of your blog and I like the slow but steady approach you have taken. It looks like you are very successful. I have to say though, I am jealous of the capital that you had available to get started!

  4. Hello!

    I just wanted to say I think this is a great thing you guys are doing. Not just the WWOOF project, but the whole gardening experience itself. It’s too bad more people don’t do it.

    My wife and I used to volunteer at a local farm in Santa Clara, CA where we lived the past three years and we had a great time. I am originally from the Cleveland area and we just moved from CA to NYC this past winter. I’m in Cleveland temporarily visiting family and I just got into town with a couple rideshares I had met in NY, one of whom should have just emailed you: Sebastian.

    It is his first visit to the US and he’s spent the last 3 weeks in NY from my understanding. He’s fairly young (26) and trying to plan his next move, but he doesn’t really know the way our country works, nor does he really have an idea how much things cost (traveling, specifically). For instance, he seems to want to head out West or down to Cuba (not sure how that would work out), but I don’t really think he really knows what he’s in for. (I hope this is making sense). In short, he’s not a seasoned traveler!

    I’m staying with my parents in town in N. Olmsted during my short visit and they’ve offered to put him up for a night or so. We have much family coming into town the next day or so and the house is going to fill up really quick. Unfortunately, I’m not certain how long Sebastian can stay here, which is why I suggested he contact you.

    Basically, I just wanted to offer you some reassurance that he is a great guy with a wonderful personality. I do trust him and hope he finds his way here, whatever he decides. I’m hoping my vouching for him provides you some comfort if you decide to have him stay with you.

    Thanks for reading and understanding and I wish you the best with your garden initiative!

    All the Best,

    Paul Schilens

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