Wwoofer day of service- March 26
My action was a day spent at an argo-ecological farm about an hour south of Barcelona. At the farm we help with various tasks such as harvesting cauliflower, planting tomatoes and picking oranges, none of which were exposed to pesticides and are all sold locally.
2. Why this action makes things more sustainable?
In terms of sustainability at IES Barcelona this action only directly impacted the three students who attended the day of service, however more students will participate at a later date. For the students that do participate there will be a change in attitude. I believe that working first hand with members of an organic farm students will experience how satisfying it can be to contribute to local sustainability. For me the experience was both fun and educational and I would rather purchase locally grown organic food because I know exactly what goes into the production of it and where it comes from.
The day of service also makes the idea of resilient LOIS businesses more real. The farm is run by a small group of people who then directly sell the products, eliminating the idea of a "middle man" that companies such as Wal-Mart cannot. Because of this, the farm would not be affected by sudden entries and exits of larger businesses in the area because it solely relies on itself.
The day at the farm also created a sense of community. Not only was I able to meet and bond with other IES students I had not know before and shared an interest in learning about organic farmer, but I was also able to interact with locals and get a sense of what their lives are like. All the members of the farm were eager to answer any question I had and insisted on a lot of hands on participated so we could learn as much as possible on our visit. I felt very included in the process while on the farm.
2.1. SWOT Analysis
Strengths- aside from transportation the trip with free of cost; creates a sense of community; students will learn more about how agro-ecological farming works (no pesticides, locally grown and sold, only growing certain foods during certain seasons); students will experience a lifestyle they may not be familiar with;
Weaknesses- only two available days and only on weekends (not enough variety in terms of availability); only 3-4 students can attend each trip so participation is very limited
Opportunities- interact with locals; receive fresh organically grown produce; provide a good reputation for IES students among locals
Threats- lack of student interest (not enough student interested in participating on the trips; not enough incentive to draw students' attention
2.2. Feedback loops
The more students participate in and learn about organic farming and how it helps sustainability, the more likely they will be to choose to buy organic produce. And the more organic food that is purchased, the better these types of farms will do, which will allow for them to open their doors to more students who want to learn about and participate in organic farming.
The more students are excited to participate and show an interest in local sustainability and local business, the better the reputation of IES students will be among locals. The better reputation IES students have with locals the better the relationship and interaction will be between the two groups, and the better the interaction the students have with the locals, the more likely students will be to watch to interact with locals and invest and take an interest in local sustainability and businesses.
2.3. Potential Benefits
In short term the benefits of my day of service were a full box of organically grown produce such as various types of lettuce, olive oil and oranges that I was able to bring home and eat myself.
Long term benefits include a strengthened relationship between IES abroad and the local farm we visited. Hopefully the farm sees the interest that students have in their work and will continue to invite students to experience a day on their farm. Other long term benefits include a better understanding of organic farming and why it is better for the environment that other types.
2.4. Potential Costs
Potential costs of the project include the cost of transportation for students and giving up a full day they may have spent another way. The professor also had to pay for transportation and time. The cost for the farm was any additional money that could have been made from the produce that was giving to us at the end of the day. ALso they took a risk in letting us plant and harvest products first hand because if we had messed up we could ruin certain crops.
So far IES abroad has not done a lot of action in terms of the Wwoofer day of service other than set up 2 dates for the semester, one of which has already occurred. In a perfect world, more students would be able to attend each event or more days could be made available but due to what the farm can accommodate this may not be possible during the rest of our stay. However, for future semesters IES abroad could contact other Wwoof sites in Barcelona and set up other projects for IES students to participate in, both to provide a variety of activities and allow more students to get involved. According to the Wwoof website, Barcelona has 9 listings for Wwoof locations including other organic farms and some smaller locations listed as houses with gardens.
3.1. "Cradle to Cradle" design
The day of action produced very little waste. Because the farm is so far away from IES abroad (about an hour by train) it is impossible to eliminate the pollution caused by transportation entirely. However once of the farm we saw a lot of cradle to cradle designs. For example when harvesting the inedible cauliflower we learned that instead of being sold the plants would them be used in a compost to create fertilizer for future plants. One thing on the farm that was not reusable however, was the plastic used to keep moister in the soil because it was not biodegradable. The farm separated the plastic from any usable items and disposed of it in the correct way though.
3.2. Questions for the unified survey
On a scale of 1-10 how likely would you be to make an effort to purchase locally and organically grown produce?
On a scale of 1-10 how interested would you be in participating in a day of work on a local organic farm?
3.3. Analysis of the results in the survey
I have not seen the results from the survey yet.
The main incentive of this specific Wwoofer day of service is the basket of fresh produce from the farm we visited and 35 EcoEuros.
3.5. Relationship with the "Sustainability Club" (SC)
To participate in this action you must be a registered member of the sustainability club website. The other two students who attended the day of service with me were not in the sustainability class so it allowed me to meet other students who are genuinely interested in sustainability and have voluntarily joined the club out of pure interest.
3.6. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?
Because the action is part of the sustainability club and not something I set up on my own, this action will continue, and hopefully grow, in future semesters. I found the trip to be very entertaining and education and hopefully other students will have the opportunity to participate. In an effort to encourage future students to participate I participated in the making of a short film endorsing the event that will be shown at this years farewell party and next years welcome party to provide a first hand account of how worth the event is.
3.7. Document format
I did not produce any documents for this project. All information was found online on webpages.
3.8. Copyright license of your report
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: This would allow others to view, share and add on to my work as long as I was given credit for the original work. This is a very open copyright which gives others the freedom to build upon my work which would hopefully advance the Wwoofer day of service.
4. Time-sheet / Chronogram
January 2011: Action projects introduced to class by Professor and brainstorming of possible events.
February 2011: decision by Kelsey MacDonald to participate in a Wwoofer day of service
March 2011: Kelsey MacDonlad registered for the sustainability club website and signed up for a specific date for the day of service
March 26, 2011: Kelsey MacDonald along with two other students and a Professor Xavi attended the Wwoofer day of service for 7 hours.
5. References & Links
www.wwoof.es The Spain Wwoofer website to find other sites in Barcelona
6. Students involved in this action
Kelsey MacDonald attended the Wwoofer day of service along with 2 other students not in sustainability class and Professor Xavi. I know other students are planning on attended the next date at the same location.
Assignment 4: Peer review form
Grades for this action report (From the PROFESSOR)