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How to WWOOF? Three steps to start trying it out

WWoof how to try

For you too, is getting started with WWOOF now an obvious choice? After all, it is a very affordable way to travel, a great way to learn about farming, and an excellent source of enriching experiences.

To get started, it’s very simple: explore, join, and make contact. Then, all you have to do is prepare your bags!

Step 1: Explore possibilities

Once you have chosen your destination country, you can browse through various farm profiles on the national WWOOF association website.

Finding WWOOF destinationsYou can adjust your search by:

  • adding keywords;
  • focusing on a specific region;
  • and using the various filters provided by the platform.

This way, you can target farming practices you are interested in, the type of accommodation, time of year, and more.

Finally, read comments left by previous WWOOFers: they’ll help you ensure that the host location aligns with your expectations.

Step 2: Join the WWOOF association

Found a great place to go? Next step is registering with the branch of the country you’re interested in. To do this, you commit to respecting the WWOOF charter and paying an annual membership fee. The amount varies depending on the association but is usually less than 50 dollars or euros.

How to join WWOOFIt is necessary to have proper insurance for WWOOFing activities. In some cases, like Italy, Portugal, and the USA, local branches include insurance directly in the membership fee. Others, such as France, offer additional insurance upon registration.

In most countries, you can become a member of the starting from age 18 and up. However, there are a few exceptions: in Turkey, minimum age to WWOOF is 20, and it is 17 in Portugal and Ireland (with a consent letter from legal guardians). WWOOFing as a family is also possible: many hosts are willing to accommodate children (especially if they are parents themselves).

Step 3: Contact your preferred hosts and plan your stay

Once these legalities are complete, it’s time to get in touch with the farms you are targeting. Here’s what you can do:

  • Make contact WWOOFFill out your profile on the platform. Introduce yourself and explain what appeals to you in WWOOF.
  • Contact hosts directly by writing to them through the site’s messaging system. This is an opportunity to explain what you are looking for and what you would like to do when you are there.
  • Agree with the host on a date and duration of stay, a set of tasks you will be doing, and the daily schedule. A WWOOF session typically lasts two to three weeks on average but can be shorter or longer depending on the location.

One last thing to prepare for an optimal WWOOF experience: pack the right equipment! The farm will provide the necessary tools for the tasks, but it’s the WWOOFer’s responsibility to bring suitable work clothes. It’s farm work, not office work! Volunteers better bring their own boots and gloves, a water bottle, sun or rain protection, and a pocket knife.

Interested in becoming a host?

If you are a farmer yourself, you can become a host and open your farm up to WWOOFers from around the world. This is possible as long as you adhere to the values of the movement, practice organic agriculture, and have a desire to share some of your expertise.

How to become a hostIn this case, the registration process is quite similar:

  • Sign up with the WWOOF association of your country;
  • Describe your farm;
  • Provide information about hosting a volunteer at your place (languages spoken, overview of activities, accommodation, etc.).

Your application will be reviewed by the organization, and they may contact you for further details if necessary. Once your application is approved, your profile will be published online. If not, fees incurred will be refunded.

Joining the movement is downright quick and cost-effective considering all the sharing and benefits you’ll experience once you’re in. The most important thing is to align yourself with the spirit of WWOOFing.

To learn more:

Images: Pixabay: Ivaylo Ivanov, Quang Nguyen Vinh, Sasin Tipchai, Victoria Regen
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