What is WWOOF and why you should try it at least once in your life
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or WWOOF (also referred to as Willing Workers on Organic Farms) consists of organizations in over 50 countries, all of which connect owners of farms with willing volunteers. Think of it as an exchange program for people who want to learn about organic growing, country life, or sustainable living.
In exchange for free room and board and complimentary meals, volunteers work the land and assist with any other chores their host requests. WWOOF programs grant volunteers the opportunity to travel the world and experience different cultures.
In order to join WWOOF, participants must pay a nominal membership fee, part of which is used to cover the cost of insurance. Once the membership is approved, participants can access a listing of organic farms, gardens, and smallholdings. They can then plan their stay at one of the open placements. Volunteers can decide what tasks they’ll take on and how long they’ll stay on assignment.
WHAT ROLE DOES THE HOST PLAY?
The host plays a major part in creating a great experience for WWOOFing participants. Hosts determine what work assignments will be made available, what food will be provided and in what quantity. All these factors will vary wildly, so it’s important to do your research and set clear expectations for yourself.
WHY PARTICIPATE IN WWOOFing?
WWOOFing participants across the globe report finding their volunteer work valuable. WWOOFing encourages people to learn about other cultures by living and working with the locals. Not only do you get a free place to stay, but you also get to experience a way of life with which you were previously unfamiliar. You will also get to help farmers, grow personally, and create memories that last a lifetime.
Additionally, this experience looks great on college and job applications. If you’ve recently graduated from high school, but aren’t ready to start college right away, spend your gap year traveling, networking, and doing some good.
WHAT TYPE OF WORK WILL I BE DOING?
Volunteers typically live with their host. During the assignment, volunteers are expected to join in and cooperate in the day to day activities. Most exchanges are based on a 4-6 hour workday. In return, participants get a full day’s meal and free accommodation.
Volunteers may be asked to help with a variety of tasks including, but not limited to, sowing seed, gardening, making compost, planting, cutting wood, weeding, harvesting, packing, milking, feeding, fencing, making mud-bricks, winemaking, cheese making, and, and bread making.
HOW LONG IS THE ASSIGNMENT?
Volunteers negotiate the length of their stay on the farm directly with the host. Participants have had assignments ranging from as short as 2-3 days to as long as 6 months.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
To get started on your WWOOFing journey, you should decide where you want to go and then join the local WWOOF organization. Once you become a member, you will be able to access a database of farms in your chosen country and start planning your trip.
WWOOFers work on average up to six days per week. Currently, there are WWOOFing programs in more than 50 countries all over the world. There are thousands of farms to choose from with an array of activities, from working on a vineyard to weaving.
Before signing up, you should do your research so that you fully understand what you’re getting into. While you may be traveling halfway around the world, remember that this is not a vacation. If you want to be a WWOOFer, you must be willing to commit to hard work and long days. You will not be put up in a luxury hotel. In fact, your living situation may be rather lackluster. It may be a culture shock for you if you encounter conditions that you are not accustomed to.
However, if you decide to move forward with the program, you will be able to take advantage of an opportunity that is educational and builds character.You’ll gain a brand new perspective on a different culture and lifestyle.
POPULAR COUNTRIES FOR WWOOFing
There are over 500 hosts available to choose from in Ireland. Ireland is a beautiful country, but it can also be quite expensive. However, WWOOFing can make this trip financially accessible to travelers on a tight budget.
The weather is generally pleasant year-round, making Ireland a great place to visit any time of the year.
Italy is known for its amazing vineyards. If you’re interested in WWOOFing in this country, there are opportunities to assist on vineyards, olive, and beekeeping farms. You will get to immerse yourself in authentic Italian culture, language, and lifestyle.
Costa Rica is a country covered in rainforests, beaches, waterfalls and mountains. WOOFers can learn all about ecotourism and experience the beauty of a tropical environment.
It’s never too late to join in on the WWOOF craze. However, you will likely want to keep in touch with your friends at home. For an affordable roaming free SIM option, you can count on no matter where you choose to travel, visit us at BNESIM today.