What does WWOOF stand for?
WWOOF is an acronym and started out in the early days as Working Weekends On Organic Farms. This changed in time as it was realised that people wanted to volunteer and host anytime. Now various WWOOF organizations use a variety of meanings:
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms
Willing Workers On Organic Farms
We’re Welcome On Organic Farms
How Does WWOOF Work?
WWOOF enables people to stay and volunteer on a variety of organic properties. Volunteers (WWOOFers) help for 4-6 hours a day, and hosts provide the food and accommodation. This is a good way to experience, learn and share different ways of living.
How do I start?
The first thing you need to decide is where you want to go WWOOFING. There are over 100 countries to choose from. Do you want to volunteer in Australia or Argentina, Korea or Kenya, Israel or Iceland or …..?
Many countries have their own dedicated national WWOOF organisation, full details below. Click on the country you are interested in to visit their website.
If you read about a farm you would like to visit you will need to enrol as a volunteer to access the contact details for that farm. To do this return to the home page and look for a link that says “become a volunteer/sign up” or similar and follow the instructions.
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.
Please note that if you want to WWOOF in more than one country you MUST contact and subscribe to the WWOOF organisation in each country you want to volunteer in. Eg to WWOOF in Portugal – join WWOOF Portugal, to WWOOF in Australia join WWOOF Australia.
Some countries do not have a national WWOOF organisations – but still have farms interested in hosting volunteers. For a full list go the “WWOOF in Other countries” section of this site.
What kind of VISA do I need?
Each country has different visa requirements, so you need to check with the relevant WWOOF organisation. In general it is up to the volunteer to research and arrange any visas required for their WWOOFing stay. WWOOF organisations do not normally arrange placements on the farms – this is something you do directly with the hosts. This means that neither WWOOF staff or WWOOF hosts can usually help you with getting visas.
How old do I have to be to go WWOOFing?
Most WWOOF groups require you to be 18 years old. This is actually a legal issue. In most countries people below 18 are still considered by law to be children, which means that hosts would be legally responsible for anything that happens to you on their property. Many of our hosts are not willing to take on the extra responsibility that this entails.
The good news is that different rules apply in different countries and so some WWOOF groups do take younger people. Currently, WWOOF Portugal and WWOOF Ireland take people at 17 years old, though sometimes a letter of consent from your parent or guardian is required. Other WWOOF groups like WWOOF Switzerland say it is up to each individual farmer. Then WWOOF Turkey require you to be 20 years old.
So you need to decide where you want to go and then contact the group that organizes WWOOF in that country to find out their current policy on age.
Your other option may be to travel with someone that can act as your legal guardian and take responsibility for you while you are on a host farm.
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 – US$72 / 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
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..).
For How long can I stay on a WWOOF farm?
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.
Can I go WWOOFing with my children?
Some farms are very happy to welcome people with children others are not. For farms that already have children it is often a pleasure to have other children around.
We recommend you start by thinking about which country or countries you wish to visit. You can find a list of all the current national groups at the bottom of this page. If the country you are interested in is not listed try WWOOF in Other Countries.
Click on the country you are interested in to visit their website. Look for a button/link that lets you “preview host farms” (NB – most, but not all sites have this facility). As you scan the list look to see if there are any farms that describe themselves as “family run” and then target these first. (To get contact info you will need to enrol with the relevant group as volunteers)
For getting the perspective of others that WWOOF with children there are several articles on the web.
•Can I WWOOF with my kids?
If you have any experiences WWOOFing with Children and want to share them please email us and we can publish it.
I want to volunteer in several different countries. Is there a global membership?
WWOOF is structured on a national level. While there are many WWOOF organisations around the world there is no central list or organisation. You need to join WWOOF in each of the countries you intend to visit. There is no International WWOOF membership. We are a network of WWOOF nations!
Many countries have their own national organisations, full details below.
If you want to WWOOF in any of these countries you MUST contact and subscribe to the WWOOF organisation in that country. When you join one of these countries you will only receive the list of hosts in that country.
It is possible to stay with WWOOF hosts in countries that do not, as yet, have their own national WWOOF organisation, see WWOOF in Other Countries details below.
Subscribing to these lists will enable you to visit farms in more than one country – though not necessarily the ones you want!
What kind of security checks are done on hosts?
The checks made on the hosts vary depending on where you WWOOF.
WWOOF organisations act as a contact between farms and volunteers. Some WWOOF groups visit each host before they are accepted, others require further checks or references. Other groups do no checks and rely on user feedback. As many WWOOF organisations are not-for-profit they do not always have the resources to visit their host farms.
So you need to directly ask the WWOOF group that works in the country you want to visit what checks they do on their hosts.
In general – when arranging to visit a WWOOF host you must take all the precautions you would take when visiting someone you do not know.
Some countries have a feedback or reference system.
The majority of WWOOF organisations have strict complaints procedures. If they get a complaint about a host it is investigated. If the complaint is upheld they are removed from our lists and cannot join again. This applies to volunteers too!
How do I find a farm that specialises in winemaking/pig rearing/cheese making/permaculture?
It can be difficult to find hosts that exactly suit your needs without knowing which country you want to visit. So you really need to think about what countries most interest you and then concentrate your search in those countries, by previewing and searching the host list.
Please note that there is no guarantee that the host you are interested in will be available at the time you want to volunteer.
Am I too old to go WWOOFing?
Providing you are fit and well enough to work for 4-6 hours per day – there is no upper age limit for WWOOFing. Many farmers welcome the maturity older WWOOFers bring. We would however recommend that you tell your host in advance about any physical limitation you may have.
For more information check out ‘Will my age be an issue’
Do I need Insurance?
We recommend normal Travel Insurance, which would cover illness, theft, tickets etc. Please do your own research. You may want to check out the cover Worldnomads offers for volunteers.