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Old 03-08-2007, 01:41 PM   #1
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Post Wwoof - Work in organic farms around the world

Recently, I've paid for and started researching hosts to stay with through an organization known as WWOOF. Here's some information that some travelers may find very helpful:

WWOOF: World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (formerly, Willing Workers on Organic Farms)

The basic principles of WWOOF are simple. You pay a membership fee (usually 15-40 dollars depending on country/region) and you recieve access to a listing of hosts. These hosts are usually organic farms, eco-communites (ie hippe communes), family farms or homes with gardens. In exchange for working 4-6 days for roughly 4-8 hours a WWOOF member will receive room and board (meals). Working conditions and living quarters vary from host to host: one host may only be able to provide tents while another may offer a room within their own home and one host may be vegan while another may slaughter their own cows.

The organization runs on the idea that WWOOF members are looking to gain mainly from the education they receive about organic farming, alternative technologies and self-sustainability; rather than just a cheap place to stay.

The down side to WWOOFing is that many hosts may not speak your native language thus hindering understanding your job for the day. Other negatives include that most hosts are located in rural areas. This is a problem when trying to pre-plan your trip, internet contact (let alone snail mail) may take a few weeks. On the other hand, if you're working a few weeks for a WWOOF host that's a two-hour walk from town, you won't be wasting your money on a room, beer or meals out.

The main site for WWOOF is located at www.wwoof.org. This site gives you a listing of all country organizations (larger countries have individual lists) as well as the WWOOF Independent list which entails all countries that have only a few hosts (ie Costa Rica, South Africa, Thailand, etc etc)

I've joined WWOOF Independents although I have yet to stay with a host, I've gained a lot of information about how the organization works and have already talked to a few perspective hosts in Costa Rica. I'll post more in this thread after staying with them in the next year or so. If anyone has any questions about how it works or wants me to find a few hosts in an area I'll be more than happy too. However, most (if not all) hosts require you to have a WWOOF membership to stay with them for the free exchange, a few of the farms offer working holiday in which you have to pay for room/board. The WWOOF membership allows you to skip that payment.
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Old 03-08-2007, 01:55 PM   #2
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When I was getting prepared for RTW trip in 2003-2004, I gattered some infos about it but in the end never taken part in the program. It looks like a fantastic way to experience the world. There are hundreds of WWOOF places around the planet.

I'm looking forward reading your further posts on the subject.

And hop ! pinned topic ! too important.
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Old 03-08-2007, 02:04 PM   #3
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Great opportunity for people to learn and travel at the same time.

I've been doing a lot of the organic thing lately, so this stuff would have been great if I wasn't tied down with oh so many things. Oye vay!

Awesome, Amber. Thanks !
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Old 03-08-2007, 02:34 PM   #4
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Good stuff Amber! I've looked into doing this, and maybe I'll actually get around to it some day!
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Old 03-11-2007, 05:11 PM   #5
 
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I've been thinking about this more and more lately. Really wanting a change and wanting to do some physical labor. After years of desk jobs, I really need something that'll tire me out enough to sleep.

Don't forget out Help Exchange http://www.helpx.net - Similar to WWOOF, but free, just need to register.

I wish I could find a place to combine this with language training and maybe a bit of pay.
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Old 03-20-2007, 10:07 AM   #6
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Sounds like great fun if that is something that you are in to! If you are interested in the same type of area, you should look into the Peace Corps. It's a great opprotunity and I believe some other TPs are doing it now too
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Old 03-20-2007, 11:28 AM   #7
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Indie: Yes, Peace Corps is fantastic! However, you need a degree and related work experience. Also, it requires a two-year work commitment.

My orginial plan was to finish school and join the Peace Corps, however after speaking to a former volunteer I decided that working for a government org may not be the best choice for myself (being a bit more free-spirited and such). Also, I talke with a recruiter about finishing my schooling while volunteering and she only said to call her back when I get my BA and at least a summer of teaching experience.

WWOOF is a non-profit volunteer based programs, which caters more to the 'hippie' type of people. Also, if someone simply wants to go to France to work on a olive farm for two weeks they have the freedom to do that.
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Old 03-20-2007, 11:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackerous View Post
Don't forget out Help Exchange http://www.helpx.net - Similar to WWOOF, but free, just need to register.

I wish I could find a place to combine this with language training and maybe a bit of pay.
Cheers for the link! This site looks very promising. The funniest thing is I was thinking about trying to get a job in a hostel in Poland, and there is one offered on this site! Kind of random and cool.
I would also like to get paid to live in another country and learn a language. Oh wait, I guess I am already kind of doing that...haha.. I am working as an aupair in the netherlands. But I want to do something different.
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Old 07-05-2007, 10:09 AM   #9
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So I've been living on a WWOOF farm for about two weeks now and I have nothing but praise for the program. Chris and I work 6 days a week; Mon thru Fri 7am to noon and Sat 8am to 10am. At this farm we have our own cabin complete with full kitchen, solar powered shower, and unlimited access to the food that the trees and gardens provide (yams, spinach, various greens, bananas, guavabanana, corn, etc etc). Our staples, like bread, cheese, milk, pasta, etc we have to provide but the supermarkets are right in town. Its very rural, but the city is still within easy reach. The owners of the farm are a "kinda couple" from the UK and Canada, respectively. Both are very nice with large "lending" libraries as well as a wealth of knowledge on a variety of topics.

The work we've done included digging garden beds, planting veggies and tree, digging ditches for water lines, feeding the horses, moving stones for garden bed borders, and a lot of other things.

The main reason I suggest this to people is because it allows you to get into the culture and the area deeping than if you had only been traveling through. We've gotten to know a ton of local by name and have seen a few drunk singing (err...mumbling through) karoke. I can't express how much different living (or volunteering or working) in a place makes an impact compared to just traveling through a city for a few days seeing the major sites!
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:00 AM   #10
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I read you're now woofing in Hawaï ?!!!
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Old 10-30-2008, 08:15 PM   #11
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Yup, been on a WWOOF farm on the Big Island of Hawaii for two months. It's been a good experience for the most part. The farm I'm at is actually a B&B with some wild growing coffee plants and macadamia trees scattered throughout. I work 7a to 12:30p six days a week with one days off. The work is mainly prepping breakfast for the guests, cleaning rooms, raking leaves, picking coffee, painting new houses the owners are building, and gardening. It's a very nice place and I've gotten really close to the owners. They have a WWOOFer night once (or twice) a week were we all eat together and we can drink their booze (yeah!). Other nights we cook in our own outdoor kitchen. All food is provided and there's a trailer and a private rooms that are reserved for WWOOFers. We even built a fire pit! OOOh exciting!

There's a dsl hookup in the guest's shared kitchen which we can abuse on off hours. There's a bus stop right up the driveway to head into Kona town or over to Hilo side. All in all it's pretty sweet.

However, I've been here a bit longer that I should be I feel. I'm getting antsy and will probably leave in the next month. I told them I'd stay until the second week of January but I want to get a move on with my next travel plans. I'll be work exchanging at a hostel in Kona (20/hrs wk for room) and snagging a PT evening job to save some cash to fly to Australia! After about two months, I should have sufficient funds and I'll spend a few weeks exploring the other Hawaiian islands before hopping over the nearest pond.
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Old 10-30-2008, 08:24 PM   #12
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I just realized I never posted about the WWOOF farm I stayed at in Kansas! Bah, what a terrible Tpunk I am! It was a nice farm - mainly sheep and garden veggies. The owner had a booth at the farmer's market in Lawrence and I helped plating, harvesting, building fences, defending chickens from the evils of the black rat snake, destroyed invasive weed pods with a pair of scissors. It was an excellent experience and I miss the owner dearly. She was a single woman and it was so great to see her pull this 12-acre farm off. She was also a traveler in her youth (and still does occasionally) so many good talks had at the dinner table. I was her first WWOOFer and she liked the experience. She took me to an Al-Anon meeting (interesting), a key-note singing session (I tried to partake but I can't sing and decided to sit outside the circle and listen - surrounded my falling cottonwood seeds), let me use her bike to explore Lawrence (which is a sweet city! - stop by if you have the chance) and had the nicest border collies.

All this said we did have our minor communication problems and I sometimes felt I was in her way - but it all worked out and I still keep in contact with her!

BY THE WAY: helpexchange.net now charges for membership. I have no clue what the rates are since I get by fine with WWOOF. organicvolunteers.com is getting a lot of talk on the circuit lately.
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Old 10-30-2008, 08:26 PM   #13
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Sounds like a good way of life. No stress, no overtime... But one day off doesn't allow you much time to visit around for now. At least you're well organized for the months to come and will enjoy hawaii for real. Noooo, I'm not envious at all...

Wwoofing in Australia also ?
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Old 10-30-2008, 08:39 PM   #14
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Yeah, one day isn't enough. One of the reasons I want to leave. It would be nice if I was only staying at the farm for a few weeks but for a long haul it's not enough break. I really want to spend a few weeks camping/hitching around the island.

I'm getting a 12-month casual work visa in Oz so I may spend a few weeks at a WWOOF farm, but I'm probably going to go the get an apartment in a city for a month or so and hop along to the next. I feel like I should since that's the motherland of WWOOF but I'm more interested in intentional communities. IC.org for a listing.
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:04 PM   #15
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omg i'm jealous of your life. that sounds so awesome!

thanks for filling us in.
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Old 10-31-2008, 03:38 AM   #16
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkchick2134 View Post
Yeah, one day isn't enough. One of the reasons I want to leave. It would be nice if I was only staying at the farm for a few weeks but for a long haul it's not enough break. I really want to spend a few weeks camping/hitching around the island.

I'm getting a 12-month casual work visa in Oz so I may spend a few weeks at a WWOOF farm, but I'm probably going to go the get an apartment in a city for a month or so and hop along to the next. I feel like I should since that's the motherland of WWOOF but I'm more interested in intentional communities. IC.org for a listing.
I am doing the same, when you headed to Oz? I'm off to Perth first, got a friend there. Probably staying there for at least 3-6 months. Trying to find a job to save up, then hopefully live off of that for the rest of the trip.
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Old 10-31-2008, 11:28 PM   #17
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I'd like to be in Australia by the end of february but it all depends how everything pans out. I have a friend in Perth as well but I think I'm going to land in Sydney and buy a cheap car and drive around the northern edge, working for a week here or there. That's my ultimate plan. I don't know though! When are you heading?
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Old 11-01-2008, 12:25 AM   #18
 
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Jan 24 is the current date. Flights have gotten cheaper and I can get a refund(nearly full refund). So if I can move it up a week, I may do so.

either way, I'm heading to Perth straight off. I really want to go from Perth then up to Darwin, via Ayers Rock. Then over to Cairns and down. Not sure if I'll make Melbourne/Adelaide.
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Old 11-01-2008, 03:18 AM   #19
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I'm not sensing a whole lot of love for Melbourne.

Was it something I said?
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Old 11-01-2008, 04:16 AM   #20
 
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I'm not sensing a whole lot of love for Melbourne.

Was it something I said?
Okay okay, but only if you promise to not make me eat vegemite and listen to Men At Work records all day.
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