Farm volunteers see benefit in working for free

PAICINES, Calif. (AP) - Interest is soaring in a program that connects volunteers with farmers across the country.

About 9,000 people have joined a group called World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms USA, which helps volunteers work non-paid stints at nearly 1,200 farms and ranches.

Farmers get much-needed extra help at only the cost of providing meals and a bed. Volunteers get to learn more about rural life and the hard work behind the food they eat.

The number of people taking part in the program is more than five times what it was in 2005.

The U.S. program is linked to an international effort that operates in more than a dozen other countries.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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