WWOOF: World Wide Opportunities on Organic FarmsLinking volunteers with organic farms and growers.
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), or Willing Workers on Organic Farms, is a loose network of national organisations that facilitate placement of volunteers on organic farms. While there are WWOOF hosts in 99 countries around the world, no central list or organisation encompasses all WWOOF hosts. As there is no single international WWOOF membership, all recognised WWOOF country organisations strive to maintain similar standards, and work together to promote the aims of WWOOF.
WWOOF aims to provide volunteers with first-hand experience in organic and ecologically sound growing methods, to help the organic movement, and to let volunteers experience life in a rural setting or a different country. WWOOF volunteers ('WWOOFers') generally do not receive financial payment. The host provides food, accommodation, and opportunities to learn, in exchange for assistance with farming or gardening activities.
What does a WWOOF Volunteer do?Usually you live with your host and are expected to join in and cooperate with the day to day activities. In most countries the exchange is based on 4-6 hours help-fair exchange for a full day’s food and accommodation.
You may be asked to help with a variety of tasks like sowing seed, making compost, gardening, planting, cutting wood, weeding, harvesting, packing, milking, feeding, fencing, making mud-bricks, wine making, cheese making and bread making.
How does someone become a WWOOFer?The first thing you need to decide is where, precisely you want to go WWOOFING. India, Korea, USA, Australia or somewhere else? Many countries have their own national WWOOF organization. If you read about a farm you would like to visit you will need to enroll as a volunteer to access the contact details for that farm. It is then your responsibility to make direct contact with a host farm of your choice to arrange a mutually convenient time for your visit.
How much will it cost to go WWOOFing?Each WWOOF trip is unique. It is therefore difficult to provide a precise figure. Please ensure you budget for the following:
- Subscription fee to WWOOF in the country or countries you are visiting
(this can be anything between 0 - $72 US / 0 - 56 Euro)
- All travel expenses including, travel to WWOOF country and travel to/from between host farms
- Accommodation en route
- Mobile phone/internet access
- Day trips/treats
If you don't already have sturdy working boots and a sleeping bag it is also advisable to purchase these (though many farmers may have proper beds and linen for you).
How long can someone stay at a WWOOF location for?Normally the length of stay on a farm is decided between you and your host. There is no standard period. It can be anything from a few days to a few months. It all depends on what you both want. While some hosts like long stays others prefer short stays. Some ask for a few weeks trial before accepting people for longer stays.
If you are interested in alternative ways of living and want to meet interesting people then WWOOFing is for you! See a list of participating countries here.