Federico Fringuelli 26 years old from Senigallia, east coast of Italy. Yes, the Senigallia that was first hit by a disastrous flood at the end of October 2022 and then all of a sudden by an earthquake. Apparently for the first time in a very long time.
Today, I had the opportunity to make an interview with Federico about his adventure as a WWOOFer in Sweden. I was curious to hear why a filmmaker and movie editor made the effort to go to a small organic farm in Sweden and why he decided to stay for even longer on the farm and then visit another Swedish WWOOF farm and after that make up his mind to move to Sweden. Why was this the case?
I meet up with Federico on a video call and I ask him about the weather in Italy and he reveals that he now moved to Sweden, Stockholm and that he loves it.
I have to stop him and ask him to start from the beginning and ask the famous question. Where did you hear about WWOOF for the first time?
Having to print a paper during Covid in Italy to show the police to be able to go out on the street or go to the grocery store. He saw people sitting in a car alone and was stopped by the police for not wearing a mask. Even though it’s better now it’s still affected. It’s still at the limit. His friends say that it’s changed their minds. He felt imprisoned.
– ” It rained more in Senigallia during one day than it usually does in one year!”
He says that a friend told him about the chance to go traveling from farm to farm and he then googled “traveling and organic farms” and found the organization WWOOF that way. At first, he didn’t remember the name of it but when he found the WWOOF page he decided that this was the thing for him and that he liked the sustainable aspect, and the outdoor activities working with animals that he loves made him take the initiative. He also says that he made a new family in Sweden that he will visit again very soon. That the bonds on the farms that he visited are very strong.
Organic and sustainability
He asks me if I’m a WWOOFer too and I tell him that I was wwoofing in Italy for the first time back in 2004 and after that decided that Sweden needed an association like WWOOF so I initiated the association WWOOF Sweden. It makes him smile and he laughs when he says – Then you are the reason why I live in Sweden now, thank you!
“After two and a half years of Covid, he was tired of big city life and wanted out in the countryside and see something else”.
Learning opportunities at the first host he visited. One can read the following categories presented on their WWOOF profile.
Arts & crafts
Fruit and nut farming
Aromatic and medicinal plants, teas
Vegetable and fruit preservation
Natural cosmetics fabrication
Sheep, goat, and horse farming
Raising of other farm animals
He packed his backpack with some clothes and his computer and his cameras and bought a one-way ticket. What happened was that the first place he visited he found a second family that showed him the real Sweden and he found such sincere friendship so he decided to extend his stay with them for a whole month.
He soon fell in love with Sweden and thought about the option to remain in Sweden instead of continuing backpacking.
He started sending resumes to employers in Uppsala. Worked for three days as a dishwasher and then shifted to become a waiter. After another three days, he replaced the pizza maker at the restaurant and got a 6-month contract as a chef.
His first time working with animals, horses especially ponies, pigs, and sheep, and working with wool and he loved it, it was amazing to have varied tasks and share the life of the host on the farm. Amazing to learn about construction work and how to fix things on the houses and do all kinds of beautifying. Later came a WWOOFer from England a girl called Bella and another girl from Sweden who studied at an agriculture university. She told him about the city called Upsala and it was actually the second WWOOF farm that he visited with over fifty Alpacka animals. He saw a live Alpacka before and suddenly he was surrounded by a whole flock of them.
Italian, German, Argentinian, and Finnish stayed together on the farm!
At the second farm, he stayed with a German, and an Argentinian WWOOFer and a Finish girl who was a friend of the owner. The routines at the second farm were totally different since he not only helped out with the alpacas, he also helped out with taking photographs and making videos, and documenting life on the farm.
My last question to Federico was; why he would recommend others to visit a WWOOF host in Sweden and his strong advice would be to do it to stress down and have a time of tranquility and peace.
He sends his warmest wished to his first host My who was the first reason that he took the decision to move to Sweden. He will visit them again in December, his second family.
* Photo credit to Federico who took most of the photos in this article. Exept the photo of the red farm house which is taken from the WWOOF hosts profile.