WWOOF stands for World-Wide Opportunites on Organic Farms, and it’s an organisation that links up volunteers with hosts on organic farms and smallholdings. Formed in 1971, WWOOF now has 15,000 hosts and 100,000 volunteers in 105 countries. WWOOF works a bit like a dating agency. The national organisation – WWOOF UK for instance – holds a list of the hosts for that country. The volunteer pays to join the organisation and is then given access to the host list.
It’s an excellent way to quit the rat-race, learn skills and meet people that may lead to the next phase of your (non-corporate) career.
Hosts get a helping hand in return for providing bed, board, cultural exchange and land-based learning. Volunteers get all the health and well-being benefits associated with being outside and spending time in nature, experience alternative ways of life, gain new skills and travel cheaply. And everyone gets to meet new people. It’s used by people who are keen to learn about the land and sustainable living. Very often, for people wanting to buy their own land, WWOOF is a sort of apprenticeship, to talk about potential issues and pitfalls and to get a feel for what crops and livestock they may or may not like to work with.
Click here if you are interested in WWOOFing or becoming a WWOOF host in the UK.
To WWOOF or become a WWOOF host in any other country, go to the Federation of WWOOF Organisations (FOWO), which is for countries with national organisations.
The WWOOF Independents website has information on WWOOF hosts in countries with no national organisation.