Woofing is gaining popularity and attracting more and more travelers looking to combine holidays and workaway in a meaningful way.
A form of eco-volunteering, which makes it possible to travel and learn organic or permacultural farming techniques, while giving time to others.
In our article of the day, we dig into what woofing is and give you some tips on how to do it well.
What it means
Born in the 1970s in England, Wwoofing, initially consisted of offering help to English organic farmers over a weekend, but is now practiced all over the world.
WWOOF, literally World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is an international network that connects organic farmers and travelers together.
All the farms, or eco communities welcoming travelers are organic and promote sustainable farming techniques as well as environmental protection.
It’s an occasion for total immersion in the heart of the farm’s work, where travelers can put their hands in the earth according to their knowledge and skills.
How does Woofing work?
Woofing is a concept of volunteer holiday, based on exchange, which aims to be a win-win situation between farmers and volunteers.
In concrete terms, the Wwoofer (a.ka. the traveler), volunteers to work on the farm in exchange for the lodging and meals.
The host offers to welcome volunteers and teach them the techniques of organic and environmentally friendly farms. They provide the accommodation and the meals but also transmit their knowledge of organic farming and environmental conservation.
Depending on the location, volunteers will participate in eco-construction, setting up or harvesting crops, or livestock tasks.
By becoming a member of the wwof community, you will be able to access the network of farmers internationally who can welcome you.
The types of farms or sites are multiple and the network is present on all continents. Woofing experiences are possible from the UK to Canada, Africa, Australia as well as southeast Asia.
To Wwoof in the UK or abroad, as a traveler you will need to:
- Sign the organizations charter and pay a membership fee to your local Wwoof organization that you can find on the Wwof International Website.
- Commit to volunteer and work 4 to 5 hours each day on the farm
- Be motivated about learning sustainable agricultural techniques and concerned about preserving the environment.
Why it is gaining momentum
Learning to plant, harvest, irrigate the land, learn about eco-construction, or take care of animals, these are the options you’ll have on the organic farms that welcome Woofers.
It is gaining popularity among travelers who see it as an occasion to be immersed in the local community of the region they are traveling to, while participating to the farm’s activities and being able to take time to explore the area.
There’s no typical woofer profile but the 18-35 age group represents 60% of them.
It’s interesting to read that many candidates are one’s wishing to settle down as organic farmers and volunteer with woofing to confirm their choice.
In France, the network has noted a significant increase in the number of requests, particularly among young people who wish to become familiar with this way of life.
Holidays yes, eco-volunteering especially
Woofing is ideal to combine nature holidays while learning organic farming , as well as to immerse yourself in the local life of the country or region you are visiting.
Many see it as a more authentic way to travel, as well as way of travelling to distant regions on a budget.
Whether you choose to wwoof in your own country or abroad, keep in mind that Woofing is not coachsurfing in the countryside.
By signing up as a woofer, you agree to give 4 to 5 hours of your time per day and five days per week.
Similarly, the farmer who welcomes you agrees to share and teach his knowledge to you and not to consider you as an employee of the farm, nore to expect you are an expert.
At the beginning of your stay, you will agree on the time and tasks in which you will participate.
And in case something goes wrong, report your local wwoof network who’ll help you find a solution.
Woofing is highly appreciated by both local farmers and travelers and often referred to as an enriching experience for all those who wish to participate in preserving the environment while they’re on holiday.
Ever done woofing while you were traveling ? How was it ? Share your story in the comments