What is WWOOFing
WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It is a network that connects local farmers with peopleinterested workers, horticulturists, botanists and travelers. WWOOF started in 1971 in the United Kingdom and has since expanded to almost every continent around the globe. For a small membership fee, people can log-on to the WWOOF website, pick a country of interest and connect with organic farmers around the world. In exchange for work, WWOOFers get a free place to stay, food and an amazing opportunity to understand a country and it’s people in a deeper way. WWOOF volunteers gain an intimate knowledge of a country through work and interaction, an experience many tourists and backpackers never get.
How Does WWOOF Work?
Interested WWOOFers must first sign-up for membership on the WWOOF website. For a small fee, members gain access to all farmers postings around the world. Farmer postings list things like contact information, what sort of farm they have, minimum or maximum stay for volunteers, restrictions (such as alcohol or tobacco) and what sort of volunteers they are interested in hosting. Some postings are very specific. For example, the farmer may only be interested in hosting woodworker vegetarians who can stay for a minimum of 6 months. Others are very broad. For example, the only restriction may be to stay for at least a week.
Once you find a farm that is in the country of your choice, you send a personal email to the farmer, specifying dates, interests, previous experience with farming, etc…
What To Expect?
WWOOFing around the world allows you the opportunity to experience a country like you never could as a tourist or a backpacker. You’ll get to know your hosts, meet other people working on farm, and gain a deep understanding about how subsistence farming and local food systems work. WWOOFing enriches knowledge about agriculture and how people around the world eat.
Expect a lot of hard work. Each farm’s expectations differ: some expect you to work 6 days a week, 7 hours a day, other farms expect 4 days a week, 4 hours a day. Make sure you sign up for a farm that suits your interests and physical capabilities best. Farming is not easy: expect to sweat (a lot), to work harder than you’ve ever worked and to be worn out a lot of the time. In return for your hard work, you can expect to feel an incredible satisfaction and happiness with your work. You’ll learn about local agriculture: plants, growing techniques and farm systems.
The sort of work you’ll be doing completely depends on what farm you visit. Some farmers request that volunteers help tutor their children in different languages, others request that volunteers help with planting and harvesting in the fields.
From your WWOOFing experience, you’ll no doubt gain a new understanding and appreciation for farming and agricultural work. You’ll meet amazing people (both your hosts and other workers) and you’ll be able to explore places, often very remote, that are completely off the tourist trail.
Where Can I Go?
Because this website focuses on Asia travel and adventure, here are places you can WWOOF within Asia: