All about WWOOFing – Organic farming has grown by leaps and bounds, and the need for farmers to communisustainable farmingcate and interact grows more each day. This is where WWOOF comes in as a movement that aims to join organic farmers and growers with volunteers in an effort to increase cultural understanding and learn firsthand about opportunities on organic farms. It’s all about constructing a global wwoof community. Discover wwoofing and your first wwoofing experience by working on farms around the world. Wwoofing is the best!
WWOOFing began in 1971 in the UK. It was the brainchild of Sue Coppard, who together with a couple of friends, wanted to spend some time in a farm. In return for their stay, Sue and her friends performed various tasks around the farm. Following their successful stay, other people soon followed and the WWOOF movement was on its way to building a community conscious of ecological farming.
Today the WWOOFing organization is available in more than 50 countries, has many wwoofers and is available as independent in over 40 more. There are national wwoof organization and international wwoof membership. In the beginning, WWOOFing was confined to the weekends, but now volunteers can stay for longer periods of time. Aside from those mentioned earlier, WWOOFers will have the opportunity to assist with animal care, weeding and help with harvesting. While a certain level of fitness is required for these tasks, you don’t need to be exceptionally fit. Please keep in mind that tasks in farms change on a daily basis, so while you may be given an idea of what duties to perform, these can change.
Learn all about WWOOFing
WWOOF stands for ‘World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.’ The volunteer or ‘WWOOFer,’ gets the great opportunity to spend time on an organic farm, learn what it’s like, how it works, what sustainable agriculture is all about, and worldwide opportunities on organic farms. During your stay on the farm, you don’t have to pay for food or lodging while you are helping out on a farm. It is not a monetary exchange program.
WWOOF is an educational program and it offers WWOOFers the chance to learn what WWOOFing is about. It is all about learning how to farm, learn about sustainability, taking part in the organic agriculture program, wwoofing stories and learning the culture. The wwoof website claims that WWOOFing is a worldwide movement, and WWOOF-USA® Host Farm Directory has many farms, more than 2,000 organic farms (wwoof membership and wwoof independents) all over the world and in many country you want. Want to wwoof? Want to travel the world? Read our guide to wwoofing. We think woofing is the best!
Who can WWOOF? Be a wwoofer
Any garden project, community or farm can participate in the program. Anyone can be WWOOFer as long as they are at least 18 years old regardless whether you have experience or not. In some countries, those under 18 can participate when accompanied by any adult parent or legal guardian. The membership for WWOOF USA is good for one year after buying, but you should check the regulations from the country where you are going to be a member.
WWOOFing gives you the chance to learn all about organic farming, do real, physical work, and work around the world. Among the things you will discover while WWOOFing are making wine, beekeeping, creating straw houses, growing vegetables and more. It’s like an educational exchange. You can read about these things in school and online, but there is nothing quite like getting down and dirty and being in a real farm, and that is what you get here.
How WWOOFing Works
The first step is to join a WWOOF organization. Just go online and look for the WWOOF organization in your country and apply for membership. Earlier we mentioned that only those 18 years and above are allowed, but in some counties like the US, those below 18 can join if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Once you have applied for membership, you gain access to that country’s list of smallholdings, gardens and organic farms.
Here the visitor / WWOOFer can contact a host farm and arrange for their stay and the type of volunteer work to be done. In exchange for the farm work you do, your host will take care of your lodging and food. As a volunteer, you will farm stay with your host in their farm and participate in the daily activities and tasks. There are two types of jobs in this world, those you receive a paycheck for your work and those who’s compensation is other than monetary. But in both cases they are a job and that work requires the same dedication and commitment.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the number of hours you have to work, but usually it is 4 to 6 hours a day helping around the farm, and in exchange for room and board. Living with a host family as a volunteer you will be asked to perform any number of tasks. In addition to those, you will learn and take part in the fundamentals of farming such as bread making, cheese making, how to create mud bricks, milk cows and feed different types of animals.
Volunteers may also learn how to sow seed, prepare compost, cut wood, harvest, pack, garden, prune and so on. The time you stay in the farm will have been negotiated prior to your arrival and will be between you and your host. The average stay length is 2 to 3 weeks, but it can be as short as 2 days or as long as 6 months; it all depends on your negotiations with your host.
How to be a WWOOF Host
If you’ve got a woodland, vineyard, allotment, garden or farm and adhere to the principles of organic farming sustainability, you are eligible to be a WWOOF host and take in volunteers. Volunteers with host farms can provide assistance with your day-to-day tasks and lessen your workload. Another advantage is many volunteers are familiar with bio-dynamic growing and permaculture growing techniques.
There are different types of hosts: some use their land for self-sufficiency, others make a living from it. Some hosts are individuals while others are comprised of families with children. Some hosts are independent while others are part of eco-villages, communities or cooperatives. If you’ve got a farm, being a WWOOF host gives you the opportunity to learn the latest techniques for growing organics, and it is also a chance to show people another lifestyle they may not be familiar with.
In other words, WWOOF benefits both host and volunteer, and a lot of volunteers enjoy their experience so much they end up becoming farmers. As a host, this is the right time to spread word about organic farming and its benefits. If you’re interested in becoming one, simply get in touch with the WWOOF in your country and they will help with the procedure.
Expectations when WWOOFing
WWOOFing has become very popular. It has become something a lot of young people want to try out. Aside from college graduates and adventurers, there are those who are just plain curious want to give it a try. If you’re interested in organic farming and want to be a volunteer, here are some do’s and don’ts.
Do the following when WWOOFing
Before you apply as a volunteer, ask yourself why you’re joining and what type of experience you want to gain.
- Do you want to work with animals?
- Do you want to plant vegetables?
- Or would you prefer to learn how to create stone walls and prepare local food?
Define your goals and you will have an easier time figuring out what to do.
Be honest with your time
- How long do you want to work in a farm?
- Is it just for a few days or several weeks?
- Ask yourself if you’d rather spend time traveling than being on the farm or how flexible you can be.
While the typical workday is around 4 to 6 hours, it can vary from farm to farm. In some cases you may have to work all day and have the following day off.
Take your time choosing a host
There is no need to rush. Online research makes it easy to explore many opportunities and to read reviews. Don’t make your decision after just a couple of emails, as you need to spend a little time getting to know your host –and vice versa – so you can try to ensure a good rapport. During this point, get to know each other’s expectations so there are no misunderstandings later.
You won’t be spending all your time in the farm so choose a location that you will enjoy. For instance, you could choose a farm that is close to camping trails. Or you could go to farm that is adjacent to important locations in the area or near public transport.
Consider the language
Language is another matter to consider. Are you willing to stay in a farm where they don’t speak much English or your native language? Others may not want to, but this also gives you the chance to learn a new language. You should also consider the general atmosphere and situation such as the weather, climate, etc.
Your host will provide for most of your needs, but it won’t hurt to be prepared. Your host is going to have the tools and boots, but you should bring a bandanna, reusable stainless steel water bottle, pocketknife, hat, work gloves (also recommend some gardening gloves as well), rain gear and work clothes. Make sure the clothes you bring in are proper for farm work and that your pocketknife is properly stored so it doesn’t get confiscated if you’re visiting a farm abroad, or just buy one on your way there.
What not to do while WWOOFing
Keep the following in mind so you and your host don’t encounter any problems when it comes to expectations.
Do not slack off
If you’re interested in WWOOFing, look for a host farm as soon as possible. It’s not just you who is going to make plans but your host as well, so plan ahead by 4 to 6 months. Keep in mind that farmers have a lot of work, plus many of them won’t have the time to be online and need time to respond. Be polite, patient and keep looking for a farm that you like.
Do not be shy
You’ll be staying at their farm so let them know a bit about you. You’re not the only one volunteering for that farm so it won’t hurt to “sell yourself” by pointing out your strong points.
- Can you sow seeds?
- Do you have some experience planting vegetables?
- Provide some details of your skills.
If you don’t have any direct related experience, emphasize other attributes.
- Are you hard working?
- Do you take directions well?
- Will you take ownership of the work assigned to you?
Going to go far in helping you land that volunteer spot in the farm.
Don’t take risks
While you are a guest at their farm, you alone are responsible for your safety. Members of WWOOF have insurance but if you’re careful you won’t ever have to use it. Be careful when spraying on plants, when feeding animals and doing other tasks. Use common sense as well. If you’re asked to drive the tractor and you don’t feel capable of doing so, let your host know and politely decline.
Do not be rigid
One of the things you will quickly learn in a farm is that plans for the day changes. This isn’t like your regular 9 to 5 job. When you emailed the farm back in January, they might have said you’ll be feeding the chickens and cows, and doing cleaning and maintenance, but that could change drastically when you arrive. The important thing to keep in mind is that WWOOFing is about learning life in a farm. You will need to get your hands dirty. If you’re prepared for that, you hopefully won’t be disappointed.
Don’t expect fancy lodging
This isn’t a five star hotel, it is farm, so you could end up sleeping in a barn loft, basement bunkhouse or tepee. In some farms you could be staying in a comfortable room with amenities, while in another you may have to set up your own tent.
Remember why you’re there
Being in a new place, it’s tempting to go out sightseeing. It’s allowed provided you’re done with your duties for the day. All the good food, meeting new people, the beautiful vistas and local sights and sounds are secondary as you are there to do volunteer work. To gain the respect of your hosts, don’t hesitate to get your hands dirty, be responsible and respectful of your work.
Here are some additional tips for WWOOFing
- Be flexible. Things don’t always go according to plan when you’re WWOOFing, so be prepared to roll with the punches.
- Be respectful. Remember that you’re a guest on the farm, so be respectful of the host’s property and livestock.
- Be open-minded. WWOOFing is a great way to learn about different cultures and lifestyles, so be open to new experiences and new people.
Why be a WWOOFers?
You’re probably wondering why a lot of people are into WWOOFing, and there is no single answer. WWOOFing is popular right now because it offers you the chance to experience something new, and work in exchange for food and lodging, making it more affordable. You may have read about it and seen videos, but it’s a totally different matter to actually live on a farm and live like a farmer. It is quite literally an experience unlike any other.
Reasons to WWOOF – The wwoofing experience
Gain practical experience wwoofing
Sure, you can read about biodynamic and organic farming. However, it’s totally different when you’re out there harvesting, growing and farming. Animal husbandry and other aspects of farming have a sort of therapeutic effect. The feeling of planting and mixing soil is something you’ll not likely to forget.
Get to know like-minded folks
If you’re eager to know how organic farming works, then there’s no better place to find the answers than in a farm with farmers and others there WWOOFing as well. Aside from meeting farmers, you also have the chance to meet and engage other WWOOFers and learn from each other. This is one of the most exciting parts of WWOOFing and what a lot of people look forward to.
Learn the intricacies of farming
Organic farming is not just about planting and feeding animals. When you take in WWOOF, you will learn firsthand the relationship between the community and food production. Learn about organic.
Eat organic food
Another reason why people WWOOF is the opportunity to eat organic food. It’s your chance to get away from processed food and enjoy fresh healthy organic produce.
Be fit and healthy
If you haven’t had the time or inclination to exercise, going to WWOOF is an alternative. The work you do will help get you in shape. Tasks vary on a farm, and you will never get bored or run out of things to do.
Breathe fresh air
There are some things we take for granted and that includes fresh air. If you’ve been filling your lungs with smoke and pollution while living in the city, being able to breathe the fresh air will be a welcome change. Learn something new. WWOOF gives you the chance to learn a new skill at low cost, and at the same time you get to visit different places and meet new people.
Try something different
If you’ve been doing the same thing over and over during your vacation, then it’s time for a change. It’s not exactly your typical vacation, but one where you can learn new things and do something adventurous.
This might seem odd at first. After all you’ll be doing some farm work, but a lot of volunteers say the experience actually reduces their stress level. While you’ll be doing some work, it’s more about learning. Throw in the fresh air, meeting new people and being able to visit new locales, and your stress may fade away.
Affordable way to travel
WWOOFing is one of the most affordable means of traveling. Your food and lodging are taken care of, plus a lot of these farms are far away from populated centers, giving you the chance to explore without spending a lot of money.
No farming experience required
Earlier we mentioned that having farm skills is a plus.
That’s true but it’s not a requirement
Even if you know next to nothing about farming, you can still apply as a lot of farms take in volunteers who have little or no experience. The only thing that’s important is you arrive at the farm with a positive outlook and willing to keep up with the daily tasks required.
Becoming a volunteer means learning how to grow food and get hands-on training on what it’s like being a farmer. The knowledge you gain WWOOFing can be put to good use and in your own garden. People choose to go WWOOFing to learn a new way of living as well as how to be resilient.
Pros of discover WWOOFing
Travel to different places
WWOOF is all over the world. World wide opportunities on organic farm. Live and learn on organic farms, while working on a farm getting wwoofing experience. It offers you the chance to wwoofing around the world while learning how to farm and help others.
Usually don’t have to pay for food and lodging
Meet different people and experience an alternative lifestyle. Gain new knowledge about organic farming and receive free room and board for working on an organic farm.
Learn how to plant and cultivate
Doing farm work is not just emotionally rewarding but physically good as well. Building walls, hauling rocks and making garden beds is good exercise and good for your body.
You’ll be one with nature again
If you’ve been living in the city for a while, being on farm gives you the chance to get away from it all. Depending on where you chose to go WWOOFing, beaches, the mountains and ocean shores could be near by. A chance to enjoy different kinds of weather. Is it winter where you live and want to get away from it?
Go WWOOFing and enjoy the sun
It’s an experience to remember. By the time your stay is over, you’ll have some interesting stories to tell your friends and memories for a lifetime.
Gives you a new perspective on life
some people become so enamored with life on the farm they decide to be farmers full time. This is your chance to see if this lifestyle is for you.
Cons of WWOOFing
Life on the farm isn’t easy. You have to get up early and do real work. Aside from feeding and planting, you may end up doing physically demanding tasks. You will be outside, so apply sunscreen to avoid sunburns. You need to be careful; If you’re WWOOFing for the first time, watch out for insect bites as they’re prevalent in some countries.
The amenities vary
In some farms you will have your own room while in others you may have to share it and bathrooms with several people. The weather might be too hot or too cold. This is something you need to get used to especially if you’re used to living in a particular climate. Internet and TV connections could be sporadic. Maybe this could be a good thing!
There are over 1,400 organic farms and communities in the United States that participate in WWOOFing USA. Farms range in size and type, from small family farms to large commercial operations. There are farms in all 50 states, so you can find one that is close to you or that offers the type of experience you are looking for.
- WWOOFing USA is a great way to learn about organic farming. WWOOFers can learn about the different aspects of organic farming, from planting and harvesting crops to caring for livestock. They can also learn about the challenges and rewards of farming.
- WWOOFing in the USA is also a great way to meet new people. WWOOFers come from all over the world, and they all have different stories to tell. You can learn about their cultures, their experiences, and their hopes and dreams.
- WWOOFing in USA is a great way to experience the beauty of rural America. WWOOFers get to live and work on farms in some of the most beautiful parts of the country. They can hike in the mountains, swim in the lakes, and explore the forests.
If you are interested in learning about organic farming, meeting new people, and experiencing the beauty of rural America, then WWOOFing in America is the perfect organization for you. And wwoofing is the best way!
Here are some tips for WWOOFing in the USA:
- Do your research. Before you contact a farm, read the listing carefully to make sure it is a good fit for you.
- Be prepared to work. WWOOFing is not a vacation. You will be expected to help out with farm chores, and you should be prepared to work hard.
- Be respectful. Remember that you are a guest on the farm. Be respectful of the farmer’s property and livestock.
- Be open-minded. WWOOFing is a great way to learn about different cultures and lifestyles. Be open to new experiences and new people.
WWOOFing in the USA can be a rewarding experience. You will learn about organic farming, meet new people, and experience the beauty of rural America. If you are looking for a wwoofing adventure, then WWOOFing in America perfect for you.
WWOOFing in Hawaii
WWOOFing in Hawaii is a great way to experience the beauty of the islands and learn about organic farming. There are over 100 farms in Hawaii that participate in the WWOOF program, so you can find one that is a good fit for you.
Some of the benefits of WWOOFing in Hawaii include:
- Learning about organic farming
- Meeting new people from all over the world
- Experiencing the beauty of Hawaii
- Getting to live and work in a tropical paradise
If you are interested in WWOOFing in Hawaii, there are a few things you need to do to get started. First, you need to become a member of the WWOOF Hawaii organization. You can do this by visiting their website and paying the annual membership fee. Once you are a member, you can browse the listings of farms that are participating in the program.
When you are looking for a farm to WWOOF on, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, think about what you are interested in learning about.
- Do you want to learn about vegetable gardening?
- Animal husbandry?
Once you know what you are interested in, you can search for farms that offer those types of experiences. You should also consider the location of the farm.
- Do you want to be close to the beach?
- In the mountains?
- In a town?
Once you know where you want to be, you can search for sustainable farming in that area.
Finally, you should read the listings carefully before you contact a farm. Make sure that the farm is a good fit for you and your interests.
Once you have found a farm that you are interested in, you should contact the host and introduce yourself. Be sure to tell them about your experience and what you are interested in learning. The host will then decide if you are a good fit for their farm.
If you are accepted to WWOOF on a farm, you will be expected to help out with chores around the farm. This could include anything from weeding the garden to feeding the animals. You will also be expected to participate in meals and social activities with the host family.
Experience WWOOFing in Hawaii can be a great way to experience the beauty of the islands and opportunity to learn a new skill about organic farming practices and get free room and board. If you are looking for an adventure, then WWOOFing in Hawaii is the perfect way to experience the best of both worlds.
With a little planning and preparation, WWOOFing in Hawaii can be an unforgettable experience.
More information about Guide to WWOOFing
There are many excellent books on what to know about WWOOFing and see the world. As you can see, there’s much to learn about WWOOF. A global community conscious of ecological farmers who will build a global community conscious consumers. Now that you know all about WWOOF, you can tell the pros outweigh the cons. WWOOFing is for many an unforgettable wwoof experience and well worth trying.
It is possible to wwoof in countries around the world and on thousands of farms learning new skills and new cultures makes for stands for world wide opportunities. Questions about wwoofing during you time on the farm is key to enjoy your wwoofing experience while learning different farming techniques.