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WWOOF

About

WWOOF is a way to make friends with the local people, and exchange your own cultural values with them.

Hosts give WWOOFers meals, accommodation and social engagement, in return for which WWOOFers help Hosts with what they do at their place.

It's simple. You give what you have, and you receive what you don't have.

There is no monetary exchange involved between hosts and WWOOFers.

Both Hosts and WWOOFers undertake to support each other, like friends and extended family do.

Founded
1971
Headquarters

Deutsch Bank Place
Level 5 126-130 Phillip Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Australia

Reviews

Default avatar
Evan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

WWOOFing is one of my favorite ways to travel because I get to see new places and meet amazing people, all while getting my hands dirty.

I stayed on a local farm in Port Angeles with host's Tammy and AJ. They were so warm and welcoming. It felt as though they were my family. We worked hard but we also laughed hard. We ate meals together and overall just enjoyed the experience all around.

I picked thousands of blackberries, fed chickens/pigs and used apples that had already fallen to make homemade applesauce (YUM!!). I love fresh produce and there was certainly no lack of that here. My favorite memory/feeling was how comfortable I felt after 5 minutes of being with Tammy and AJ. They truly made me feel at home.

10/10 will be back!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The initial meeting is always a little scary because you are staying on someone else property. However, as soon as that passes, it is such an amazing experience.
Default avatar
Raquel
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My host farm was located in the outskirts of Hiroshima, about an hour by bus on a winding mountain road, in a tiny, half-abandoned village of 100 people. While scrolling through several host farm profiles on the WWOOF Japan website, the family-owned organic cafe featured on one had me sold and I quickly messaged the host to see if he openings for my friend and I. The farm portion of our host "farm" was quite different from what we expected, as it was the family's personal gardens consisting of 3 rice paddies and a weedy vegetable patch. Although we spent some time in the fields weeding, the bulk of our time was spent helping out at the village's only cafe. Our responsibilities mainly included opening and closing the restaurant, food prep, serving customers, and doing dishes. Essentially we provided a huge help for all the tasks the single cafe cook didn't have time for.

Everyone's experience will definitely depend on their host farm, hosts, living situation, and location. Although my first time WWOOFing definitely blew my expectations out of the water and I was at times discouraged, I would definitely love trying out WWOOF again. Even if circumstances seemed less than ideal at first, I reminded myself I was there to work, not get pampered on vacation. You will be helping out people's real businesses and livelihoods, and in return receiving home-cooked meals and accommodations.

What would you improve about this program?
The WWOOFing website can be more truthful about working conditions and hours. Most days we worked 9 hours or more on the farm, with only a day off a week if there was no more weeding to be done.
Read my full story
Default avatar
Tyra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

WWOOF-ing is seriously one of my favorite things to do, and I think New Zealand (with its welcoming, cheerful, and can-do attitude) has been one of my favorite places to do so.

WWOOF-ing is really what you make of it. You purchase a membership for minimal cost (I think NZ cost me about US$20 for a year membership) in order to access the contact info for hosts all around the country, and these hosts range from small subsistence gardens to wineries to sheep farms to orchards, to whatever. The hosts that you first contact don't always have room to take you in during your preferred days, but there are so many options it will be difficult to not have a place to go. During my time there I was able to work in gardens, help clean and repair boats, help shear sheep, pick fruit in an orchard, help my hosts run some of their rafting company tours, dig on the beach for food, work in a vineyard, and much more.

You get to learn so much about the country and the people by living and working with them--often times your hosts will practically adopt you and take you on outings to amazing places that are literally in no guidebooks (I've checked at multiple bookstores) or suggest activities or ways to get around. You also learn a lot about yourself and come away a stronger person for the experience.

If you have the time and want to fully immerse yourself in Kiwi culture, I would highly recommend WWOOF-ing. Once you're there, it's practically free, and you have a decent amount of free time outside of the hours you have to work that you can go exploring.

What would you improve about this program?
I wouldn't change it, but people who do this program shouldn't expect to be coddled, either by WWOOF staff or your hosts. Once you have your membership, it's up to you to make things happen--I'm pretty sure all the WWOOF staff do it keep the membership program running. It's honestly not that hard to make your own way, and it means you get to choose your own adventure. :)
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Tyra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I think WWOOF-ing is my favorite way to travel. You get to stay with local people (and occasionally other traveling WWOOF-ers) and dive into and learn about the host culture. I always enjoy spending time with people and being useful, and I adore the outdoors, so this program is perfect for me.

The hosts will often place a great deal of trust in the WWOOF-ers that they host, and I was fortunate enough to live in a yurt next to a reconstructed 16th-century home in Wales, work in the garden, chase sheep around, and help with the transport and reconstruction of historical houses for an archaeological company! All of this took place in a gorgeous patch of farmland in central Wales in the company of people from Wales, France, Scotland, Singapore, Taiwan, and England.

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly, if you have enough initiative to both plan ahead and be adaptable, this program can work perfectly. Sometimes you just can't find a host where you want when you want, but since these people are opening their homes and there are thousands of people who want to stay with them, you're not always going to get your first choice. Go in with an open mind and ask around!
Default avatar
John
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Organic farming working and learning, more than 100 farms available in Portugal subscription costs only 15 euros! You only need to buy yourself your travel tickets ... all the food (and accommodation of course) will be provided by your Host!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Raquel Thoesen

Raquel is a recent college graduate with a knack for all things language, culture, and food related. Her most recent adventures include eating her way through Mexico City, trekking across Japan for several weeks, and she will soon be teaching English in Germany.

Why did you choose this program?

WOOFing in Japan

The WWOOF program seemed like the perfect way to experience Japanese culture from the inside out in a way that simply traveling through the country would not have allowed. There's hundreds of farm types to choose from and the duration is completely up to the participant. WWOOFing was also a great way to extend my month-long stay in Japan for practically no additional cost.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

After paying a minimal registration fee, you can set up your WWOOFer profile and start contacting host farms that look interesting to you. It's a fairly independent program and participants work directly with the hosts for the entire process. Transportation to and from the host site is the WWOOFer's responsibility, but while on the farm the hosts provide free meals and accommodation.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Before reaching out to host farms, be sure to read their entire profiles and compare carefully. Some may not be accommodating to certain diets or may not even speak English. Others may require you to possess certain skills or knowledge specific to their kind of farm or facility. Even if the profile states something, double check with the host through the messaging system before settling.

My host's online profile listed its acceptance of vegetarian WWOOFers, but my friend had a difficult time finding suitable meals because of their different understanding of vegetarian (for example, soups, even if vegetarian, may have a meat-based broth).

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Each WWOOFer's experience can be radically different depending on the type of host chosen. WWOOF Japan has hosts ranging from wasabi farms to bed and breakfasts, to give a broad idea.

On a typical day, the other WWOOFers and I would have breakfast at 7:30am then start our work day at 8:30am. We would all alternate between working at the cafe and weeding the rice paddies. Lunch would depend on when the cafe would slow down enough to allow us a break, then we would close shop at 5pm and start to prepare our own dinner. By the time we walked back up the hill to our host's home, it was dark out.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?

Before arriving at the farm, my biggest concern was whether I would get along with the host. He seemed very friendly through our online messages, but of course reality is always different! I had also read a few horror stories of WWOOFers in other countries, who were surprised to find themselves living in very uncomfortable situations with abusive hosts.

My WWOOFing stay was two weeks in a very remote location (I wasn't sure before going if I would even have internet), so if anything went wrong, it would be difficult to resolve. Luckily, all my fears were for nothing, because my host family was extremely accommodating and friendly!

What was the most memorable part of your experience?

Having stayed in what was essentially the middle-of-nowhere Japan, where the closest store was a two mile walk on a mountain road populated by monkeys, I learned several interesting tidbits of Japanese society.

Our unnamed town had a tiny population of 100, most of who were over 80 years old. Half the homes in the town stood empty or abandoned, which we learned was an increasingly common trend across Japan, with its aging demographic and urban metropolitans pulling more and more people away from the countryside.

The other WWOOFers and I spent our free time exploring abandoned homes, picking flowers for the cafe, and running away from venomous centipedes and aggressive monkeys.