Name: Tori Degen
Occupation: Program Manager at Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, USA (WWOOF-USA®)
Place of Residence: San Francisco, California
Background and Personal History: A long-time proponent of the nonprofit sector, Tori has worked as a communications professional for nationwide organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America. She graduated from California State University at Fullerton in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications, with an emphasis in public relations.
Following graduation, Tori spent three moths backpacking across 10 countries in Europe, during which she spent many mornings visiting the towns’ farmers markets and connecting with local farmers. Having always been interested in health and nutrition due to two personal bouts with cancer, and returning home with a strong interest in local food and the people who grow it, she knew she wanted to be involved in the organic food movement upon arrival back in California.
She signed on as the Program Assistant for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, USA (WWOOF-USA), a nonprofit organization that is part of a worldwide effort to link visitors with organic farmers, promote an education exchange, and build a global community conscious of ecological farming practices. A year later she was promoted to Program Manager and serves as the communications and outreach coordinator for the organization.
Tori handles all daily communication with over 1,830 organic host farmers across the country and 19,000 WWOOFers around the world. Tori visits host farmers as often as possible and cherishes the relationships she has formed with small-scale organic family farmers around the country and world. She also attends & exhibits at numerous organic farming conferences and outreach events across the country, and works with media across the US and around the world to promote WWOOF and help further the organization’s mission.
Current Projects: Tori is working on establishing a worldwide network for WWOOF alumni to stay connected with the organization and their local farmers after their personal WWOOFing journeys have come to an end. The organization is also in the process of reviewing applications for the 2nd Annual Farm Grants Program, which awards grants to host farmers for special projects that help further the mission of WWOOF-USA, enhance the educational experience of visiting WWOOFers on the farms, and promote small-scale organic agriculture and stewardship.
A brand new feature on the organization’s new website (set to launch early this summer) is the new “WWOOF for a Day” option. Not everyone can afford to put their lives on hold and go live on farm for a few weeks or a whole growing season. WWOOF for a Day will give people the chance to go visit and connect with their local host farmers and help out for a day or weekend, without having to commit to a week or longer on the farm.
Other Fun Facts: Tori will be traveling to Iceland next month to meet with farmers on the island and engage in a WWOOF adventure of her own! She can’t wait to blog about it!
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