Farm­ing group of­fers free hous­ing, board for vol­un­teer work

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Front Page -

Ques­tion: My 18-yearold son is in­ter­ested in join­ing a group called WWOOF-USA, which prom­ises to let peo­ple live on a farm rent-free in ex­change for un­paid work. Is this a le­git­i­mate or­ga­ni­za­tion, or is it some type of scam? An­swer: The World­wide Op­por­tu­ni­ties on Or­ganic Farms in the United States — com­monly called WWOOF-USA — is a le­git­i­mate non­profit that links peo­ple up with more than 2,100 earth-friendly farms and even ur­ban gar­dens across the na­tion, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Vir­gin Is­lands.

So-called WWOOFers typ­i­cally spend about half a day do­ing un­paid chores, which can range from plant­ing or har­vest­ing crops to keep­ing bees or even build­ing small homes made of or­gan­i­cally grown bales of hay. In ex­change, the prop­erty owner agrees to pro­vide free room and board.

As a bonus, WWOOFers learn prac­ti­cal, eco- friendly farm­ing skills.

For about $40 a year, folks can search www. wwoo­ for farm­ers, ranch­ers or other prop­erty own­ers who are look­ing for help. The free hous­ing of­fered can range from a spare bed­room to (be­lieve it or not) a te­pee.

Though I think that WWOOF pro­vides a great ser­vice, it’s im­por­tant to note that the group doesn’t fully screen ei­ther its WWOOFers or the folks who will pro­vide the hous­ing. So, it’s im­por­tant to talk with a prospec­tive host be­fore agree­ing to work and live on the prop­erty.

It also would be wise to re­search the host by us­ing pop­u­lar web­sites like Google and Pipl. com. Check­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s Na­tional Sex Of­fender web­site (www. could be help­ful, too. GET­TING THE BEST DEALS

Ques­tion: We are re­mod­el­ing our liv­ing room, and would like to buy a new TV as part of the process. There are some great deals now, but could we save even more if we wait un­til next month’s Black Fri­day?

An­swer: It de­pends on the type and size of the tele­vi­sion that you want to pur­chase.

If you want a TV with a stan­dard screen size of 55 inches, you prob­a­bly should make the pur­chase now, re­ports shop­ping ex­pert Ben­jamin Glaser, of

bar­gain-hunt­ing web­site “That’s be­cause this cat­e­gory size has hit a price plateau, mean­ing re­tail­ers have dis­counted them as much as they’re will­ing to,” Glaser notes.

Should you want a big­ger set, you’ll likely save money if you wait un­til Black Fri­day. That’s the day af­ter Thanks­giv­ing, when re­tail­ers typ­i­cally slash prices to jump-start their hol­i­day-shop­ping sea­son.

Oc­to­ber also is a great month to buy end-of­sum­mer stuff, in­clud­ing pa­tio fur­ni­ture and bar­be­cue sets. This also is a good time to buy a tent or other sum­mer camp­ing gear if you — like me — pre­fer to “house” your­self un­der a moonlit au­tumn sky rather than a bed­room that’s cov­ered by a cot­tage-cheese ceil­ing.

David W. My­ers

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