Wwofing for beginners is a topic that people may not know a great deal about, or perhaps may have never have heard of. The wwoofing industry is a relatively new phenonomen and it’s a great way of getting people into the ideas and methods of organic farming and also its a platform of introducing people into how farming and vegetable growing works. It’s a two way street of sorts, in that it introduces and gives people that farming experience in doing some work and chores on their farms, and reciprocates by offering free board and their keep. Wwoofers seldom recieve a paymment in return for this service, except perhaps some some farm veg or produce as a means of thanks for their services. Wwoof by the way stands for …World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
There is an organisation of wwoofing farmers and families throughout the world in most countries and they are listed in the wwoofer websites in each participating country. Those who are interesting in this type of farm working holiday make their own way, pay for their flights and travel etc, but their accomodation and meals is provided by the host families. Wwoof was founded back in the 1970s approximately and has been expanding, growing and getting more popular on an annual basis. I have seen several documentaries on TV on this topic and today, I want to explain and outline all about this experience, how it works and what are the benefits and advantages of this past-time.
How wwoofing started;
The exact history is a little clouded at present, but its fair to say that this practice first started taking hold in the UK. A forward thinking woman thought up the idea of introducing urban dwellers to the countryside for weekends in farms mainly and to get them into the ins and outs of how this industry operated, plus it was a way of getting these participants out of the cities and big towns, for a weekend. Like everything else in life, this innovative idea evolved into a more organised and prepared stay on the farms and bit by bit, the wwoof organisation took hold. It materialised into the organisation that it is today, slowly but surely, but also not without its problems. In some cases, it was seen as a means of having free labour and and was obviously taken advantage of, before the wwoofing organisation intervened and introduced more regulation.
How wwoofing works;
Normally wwoofers would live with their hosts and are expected to join in and cooperate with the day to day farming and growing activities. In almost all of the countries, the system works on a 4-5 hours help per day in return for a full day’s food and accommodation. People may be asked to help with a variety of tasks like sowing plants, cultivating vegetables and helping with the harvest if the timing happened to coincide with their stay. They may be asked to help with milking duties, weeding of vegtable plots, cooking, washing and all those tasks that would normally happen on a small ordinary farm holding. The length of volunteers stay depended on how much time they were willing to offer and if that could be agreed with the wwoofing host family. A normal stay lasts approx one to two weeks, this may also vary here and there, it could only last a week or it could extend to a three or six month period as well.
How much does wwoofing cost;
For the host families to join the wwoofing community in their own countries, there is just a nominal fee of approx $30 or €25, or equivalent depending on what part of the world we live. Its just a membership fee more than anything else as the wwoof is an ethical and non profit world wide organisation. Wwoofers on the other hand pay something similar to become a member in that particular country, ie, $25 per individual or $35 per couple.
The do’s and dont’s of wwoofing;
This is very practical stuff and its also basic health and safety. Do outline to the host family what type of work you would be interested in when on a wwoofing trip, on the application form,ie, would you like to work with animals, work in a garden, would you be prepared to get ready the meals and perhaps do some household chores etc. Do not pretend that we can drive agricultural machinery when, we may not have any experience in that area. If you are not sure what area of the farm that you may be interested in, explain that fact to the families and they willl accomodate you with tasks that will suit and so on.
Don’t expect the ‘Ritz’ or 5 star rooms for accomodation as this is a farming envoirnment and expect to be accomodated in a farming residence or lodgers digs. Be prepared for mucking out and about in a farm situation and bring clothes for these occasions. Do use our time efficiently, if there is a large town or city nearby, that you would like to visit…work up your hours so that you could have some free time at the weekend to go sightseeing etc etc.
This experience for the wwoofer is a trip of adventure and its a great way of seeing different countries and to sample their hopspitality and their cultures. It’s also something different to say our normal summer holidays or vacations. We are all used to going to far flung exotic seaside tourist locations for our summer holidays, so this is another great and exciting alternative to this past-time.
It’s basically an exchange based on trust and it works both ways. It is a farming holiday adventure and its designed to gain an outdoor experience in these envoirnments. The purpose of this review was to educate and inform people who may not have heard of this practice heretofore. I trust that this information will be useful and if you would like to contact us, please do so, via the comments section down under. Alternatively if you would like to contact us directly by email,you can do so here…