Dear Potential WWOOFer at Eulenhof, why Eulenhof? One reason: Gelbe tomatoes. You think I’m kidding, but you’ve never eaten these tomatoes.
Beyond the vegetables, though, I have to say that Marcus and Ulli are amazing. It’s taken me two months to write my review because words cannot sum up the impact the summer at Eulenhof has had on my life. I became interested in creative and sustainably sourced food when I studied agriculture in college. After grad school I decided to take some time to actually work in the “field” of agriculture instead of behind a desk. I asked Ulli for three things when I came to the farm:
1. To learn and DO the farming process from planting to selling
2. To learn and interact in German as much as possible
3. To have the opportunity to work with fellow WWOOFers throughout the day
My hopes were surpassed in every way. I learned so much from the FOJ’s (the long term interns on the farm), from the gardeners, and of course from Ulli and Marcus.
There was a moment this summer (2016) as I stood on a wooden ladder in the greenhouse twisting vines around a string tied to the roof a meter above my head, when I realized. Growth is these cucumbers. And tomatoes. And the Kindergarteners up the street in Dogern that I’ll deliver the cucumbers to later this week. Eulenhof exists not to become the next sole supplier to Edeka, but to be present in the souls of the people in Dogern, of those who work on the farm, and those who volunteer through WWOOF. And that is beautiful, and enough.
Why you should come to Eulenhof:
If you love people and growing things, this farm experience is for you. Chrissi, the resident prankster, will be there to greet you. Be ready – he’ll “charge” you more Euros just for being there than most hostels would, so if you’re thinking of saving money, think again (teasing, but he does often threaten it!!). Ulli and Marcus are a great combination of tough and fair, and also quite kind. They give excellent instruction and make working interesting and fun – with intentionally varied tasks and well-planned daily schedules that are both flexible and structured. They give autonomy as volunteers earn it, and they allow more responsibility as you learn. I planted, weeded, harvested, collected eggs (my favorite) and made deliveries and did numerous tasks I couldn’t have imagined I’d learn in five weeks.
If you’re interested in studying in an informal way – there is ample opportunity for that. I collected data about temperature and egg production (turns out there is a weak negative correlation between egg production and temperature, at least during the month of July).
Farming is not an easy job, but if you give it a go, the rewards you will receive in the form of lessons learned will be more than worth the time and sweat you put in.