General Information and Background
Thank you for you interest in WWOOF and writing about the network of WWOOF organizations. We recommend that you contact WWOOF in your local area to get detailed information about the WWOOF experience in your country. They will be happy to help. Please feel free to use this information if you want some general information about WWOOF. You can find out more on the How it Works and FAQ pages of the
: WWOOF enables people to live and volunteer on a variety of organic properties. Volunteers (WWOOFers) help on the land and home for 4-6 hours a day and hosts provide the food and accommodation. Hosts receive hands on help with the more labour intensive input that organic farming requires as well as being able to share their knowledge. WWOOFers in return get hands on experience, learning and sharing organic and sustainable ways of living.
: Originally called Working Weekends on Organic Farms, WWOOF came into being during the Autumn of 1971. Sue Coppard, a secretary living and working in London, England recognized a need of people like herself who didn’t have the means or the opportunity to access the countryside and support the organic movement. Her idea started with a trial working weekend of four people at a Bio-dynamic farm at Emerson College, Sussex, which she arranged through a contact in the Soil Association. The weekend was a great success and things gathered momentum. Soon more organic farmers and smallholders were willing to host people keen to work on their farms in return for food and accommodation. Hosts and WWOOFers (as the volunteers are affectionately known) made new friends and enjoyed the experience of exchanging assistance and knowledge. The idea spread, first to the other side of the world, New Zealand and Australia, followed by many other countries. WWOOF changed from being a weekend only event to anytime as there are always activities to do on a farm and the naame changed to Willing Workers on Organic Farms.
Today there are 60 national WWOOF organizations and another 55 countries who have some hosts but no local WWOOF group yet (these are listed under Hosts in other Countries or WWOOF Independents). WWOOF organizations use various meanings for the accronym WWOOF with some preferring Willing Workers on Organic Farms and others World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms. Others like to use We’re Welcome on Organic Farms.
WWOOF has remained a grassroots network of independent WWOOF organizations preferring to promote the ideal of local support rather than global management. Accordingly there is no “head office” but there are two not for profit member organizations that manage the international general information websites and WWOOF hosts in countries without a local WWOOF organisation and a group who manages a regional site. The total number of number of Hosts and WWOOFers world wide for 2010 was: 11899 hosts 80014 WWOOFers .
WWOOFing is very rewarding, you can participate in a huge range of experiences, alternative lifestyles and learn new skills. Many WWOOFers are so inspired by the experience that they end up changing their lifestyles and even setting up their own organic properties!
Some quotes from members:
Jana, Host in Finland: “I would like to say though, we very much enjoyed our 16 years as wwoof hosts, in that time benefiting from the help and company of over 60 helpers who stayed from between 4 days and 4 months. It was a rich time for our family as our children were at home and growing up. We value the work which is happening at wwoof and hope that the organisation continues to grow in a positive way. Change in the world happens very much through personal contact and concrete experiences. WWOOF definitely has the potential to be life-changing for both hosts and helpers- as well as just enabling necessary farm/garden work to be done. ”
Sabine, WWOOFer from Germany: “Thank you for this wonderful experience. In addition to the new skills I have learned I found out a lot about myself”
Angela, WWOOFer from USA : “Since I got back home I have put some things into practice that I learned. I now make homemade stone ground bread and had ago at some mozzarella cheese (it actually worked!). I have planted a small garden full of vegetables and hope to plant some fruit trees soon. Thanks for the opportunity.”
WWOOFer: First I just want to thank you. WWOOFing has made my traveling so much more interesting. I’ve met some amazing people and learned so much, I’ve done things I never would have done otherwise. It made my backpacker experience so much better!
Lena and Max, WWOOFers from Germany: WWOOF made it possible for us to make these sorts of experiences, which vary from all varieties of gardening and farming skills (we especially congratulate ourselves to having brought up and installed a windmill in Western Australia) to the responsibility and consciousness that work with animals and nature bring with them. We are very proud of some of the things we’ve done and learned and that we got the chance to do so.
A great part of it is surely the membership in your organisation without which we’d never have had the connections and ways to access the places and reach the people who have gotten our friends and dear memories of our time in Australia.