The Wild Green Yonder

Author: Philippa Jamieson

Publisher: New Holland, $29.99

Wwoofers started life as “Willing Workers on Organic Farms” and have since been renamed as “Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms” – a system whereby travellers can exchange half a day of labour for full bed and board with various hosts throughout this country and overseas. The author spent two and half years wwoofing her way around this country, somewhat unusual in that most of her fellow travellers are young adventurers from overseas whereas she hails from Dunedin.

In recent times, organics has become increasingly mainstream and Philippa Jamieson’s book is a fund of information for people who want to manage their home vegetable patch or lifestyle block on organic principles. Whether you want to know about pruning fruit trees, the use of comfrey or milking a goat, it is likely to be mentioned. However the index only refers to people and places so you will have to read the whole thing, not use it as a ready reference book. That said, it is an easy reading narrative, at best lyrical but at worst descending into some purple prose. The author’s fervour for biodynamics and some of the more fringe aspects of organics, along with its extremely PC nature, may get in the way for more pragmatic readers but it is a good yarn, an excellent insight into a different way of living and there is a wealth of information conveyed with clarity.