World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is the U.S. version of a global network of organic farms and volunteers generally referred to as “WWOOF.” In some places, WWOOF stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms, while others use a different acronym entirely. Regardless of the name, the concept behind the organizations is essentially the same: Farms post their listing on their country’s unique WWOOF website detailing what kind of work they would like volunteers to help with. In return, they provide their volunteers with room and board; at least in most cases. Some farms provide only housing, one meal a day instead of three, or some other kind of compensation. Each farm’s unique agreement can be found on its listing.
Most countries have their own unique WWOOF organization and require a small fee to gain access to the host listings. The WWOOF network is literally worldwide, and isn’t limited to just organic farming. Animal husbandry, permaculture techniques, sustainable building, and bee keeping are just a few things you could learn during your WWOOF experience. And now that you know what it is, here are ten reasons why you should try it.
1. See the world. For those with a genuine interest in learning more about sustainable living, WWOOFing is a great way to see the world.
2. Save money while traveling. Almost all farms provide free room, and most provide three meals a day. However, keep in mind that most farms prefer stays of at least two weeks.
3. Try something new. Have you ever milked a goat or eaten raw honey straight from the hive? I hadn’t until I WWOOFed.
4. Meet new people. A lot of farms host several volunteers so its likely you’ll make some new friends during your experience.
5. Real job satisfaction. Helping out a small family farm, or helping a larger one work toward its dream of sustainability can be an incredibly rewarding experience. The extraordinary gratitude of my host farms felt so much better than any paycheck I’ve ever earned.
6. Reap what you sew. Literally. I can think of few things more satisfying than eating fresh fruit and vegetables that you planted, nurtured, and harvested yourself.
7. See the results of your work instantly. I have had too many jobs where I never saw the fruits of my labor. Planting, nurturing, harvesting, and building all yield tangible results that you can see at the end of each day.
8. Learn new skills. Do you know how to harvest radishes, can your own tomatoes, or save seeds from this years harvest for next year? WOOFing gives you skills that are not only practical, but also help you to become a more self-sufficient person.
9. Feed people. Most farms donate or sell a portion of their food to friends, the public, or members of their CSA. Knowing that you are growing healthy, organic food for the people in your new community is one of the best parts of WWOOFing.
10. Learn independence. If you have a dream of starting your own organic farm, building a sustainable home, living off the grid, or just want to become more self-sufficient, WOOFing is a great way to gain the knowledge and skills to make it come true.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started!