The complete guide to World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms
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Life in the city can be a bit overwhelming at times. The hustle and bustle of everyday life are enough to make anyone want to take a break from it all. Have you ever considered trying your hand at farming? While it may seem extreme, swapping out city life for the open road and its simple pleasures might just be the change of pace you’re looking for. Of course, this doesn’t mean we’re asking you to buy a tractor and adopt a farmer tan overnight—there are plenty of minimalist farming activities even casual hobbyists can enjoy!
If you’ve always dreamed of being a farmer but have no idea where to start, wwoofing may be the perfect activity for you!
Wait a minute…What is WWOOF?
WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms! It’s the perfect way to combine travel and agriculture – it’s jet-setting for farmhands!
WWOOF is an international network that connects travellers with organic farms that offer them accommodation and board, as well as a chance to learn about life on the farm. You could wwoof your way around the world, learning everything from beekeeping to crop rotation! It’s a great way to experience different cultures, and see incredible sights and provides a hands-on experience with sustainable practices.
What do WWOOFers do?
Basically, you are getting a taste of the farm life and contributing! At the farm, you’ll get to do all of that and more; the catch being you must put in a full-time effort (with approx 4-6 hours of work) during the day.
But don’t worry, you’ll be well taken care of as your hard work will be rewarded with a full day’s worth of accommodation and food. All you have to do is perk up your overalls, pull up those boots and get ready for an awesomely fun farm experience where you can learn how to milk cows, make cheese, build mud bricks, grow vegetables…you name it!
How long is a WWOOF stay?
The amount of time you’ll stay can range anywhere from two days and up to six months – though the average length is usually 2-3 weeks. All these are negotiated with your host.
How do I start woofing?
Starting a wwoofing adventure can seem like a daunting task, but don’t worry! It’s actually quite easy.
First, find your ideal destination. Whether you’d like to spend time in the French countryside or learn the art of living sustainably on an organic farm in Chile, there’s sure to be a place for you!
Next comes the fun part – researching, signing up for an account and applying to host farms that fit your plans. Once you’ve been accepted, it’s off to your new home away from home.
How much does it cost to join WWOOF?
If you are wondering how much does it cost to join wwoof, you need to know that all roads don’t lead to Rome – or rather, all countries require their own membership fees.
PS: The joint membership is for two people. You will pay less money for the membership than if you each got a single membership.
Membership fees don’t just rest on the country or continent you’re visiting; you have to pay for access in each and every country separately! Sure, it might sound like overkill at first, but for a yearlong membership with access to personalized profiles, host directories and reviews (plus crucial details such as online messaging tools), that fee becomes downright reasonable.
How to WWOOF like a Pro – according to Reddit
Heading out to the farm for an idyllic stay may sound great, but even modern-day adventurers can sometimes slip into a horror movie frame of mind. Sure, you could be getting ready to embark on an educational, life-changing and eye-opening wwoofing journey with like-minded travellers – but sometimes our brains just go straight to “Anything could go wrong!” territory.
Thankfully, help is at hand: people who have been there and done that, have taken to Reddit in droves with their top tips for surviving the farmyard experience.
Have tight communication with your host
Before you decide to WWOOF, it’s important to do your research and communicate with your host as much as possible! No one wants an unpleasant surprise once they arrive, so use all the resources available- from the good ol’ telephone to Instagram photos and video calls.
While farms are usually in remote areas that don’t leave room for spontaneous exits, make sure any miscommunications or doubts about expectations are addressed quickly – think less awkward leaving early and more lengthy phone calls!
Your experience may differ
Being a WWOOFer sure is one heck of a ride! One moment you’re spending your days tilling the land, working on some beautiful farming project, and the next you’re chopping wood for a week straight or de-cluttering cupboards in your host family’s house.
It can be tough to figure out where you fit in as a WWOOFER; sometimes it’s like being an unpaid maid, but other times people treat you as if you were their own personal guest of honour!
Ultimately, it is important to agree on expectations beforehand. Don’t expect hosts to stick with the tried and true 4–5-hour rule as many choose to do different things. For example, they may have an 8-3 schedule with a 1hr lunch break or tasks that need to be done each day, or just check in to ask for help throughout the day.
Whatever their chosen methods are, come up with one that works for everyone involved and make sure you confirm it before your stay begins. And if there’s ever any doubt or miscommunication on either side, address it quickly!
Remember: if you’re not feeling happy with the situation, then leave – because chances are, you’re dealing with someone who’s taking advantage of you.
Trust your gut
This means if the farm you’ve got your eye on looks sketchy or doesn’t seem quite right for some reason, take a step back and reevaluate the situation.
In other words, don’t go hauling hay from the devil’s playground. And once you start down on the farm, be sure to stay aware of your safety and pay attention to any warning signs that may arise – feeling uncomfortable with a farmer or fellow WWOOFer is a sign that perhaps it’s time to find an exit strategy or at least check in with yourself for a reality refresher.
Though WWOOFing should be about fun experiences, trust yourself by always putting safety first.
Get your finances properly sorted
One thing you can count on is that your host won’t be sending you a plane ticket in the mail. It’s up to you to get yourself to the general area, so make sure you set some money aside for reliable transportation because depending on how far from home you are, the last thing you need is to find yourself hitchhiking in a strange land.
Your host may be generous enough to pick you up from the airport, bus station, or other nearby transit stops – but taking command of your destiny starts long before that.
Have money tucked away for any surprises along the way and hide an extra stash just in case you forget how much fun a night out can be!
You might be interested in: Emergency fund: Why you need one and how to get started
Learning polite phrases like “please” and “thank you” is certainly a must, but it may not be enough if you’re staying in a foreign country. You’ll want to make sure that your conversations are straightforward and clear.
Don’t jump in with long sentences or try to speak quickly; the goal should be for the other person to understand without any guesswork. Also, resisted the urge to yell—let your wit do the talking instead! Adapting your speaking style to communicate more effectively when conversing in English can go a long way towards making new friends while abroad.
At the end of the day, working as a WWOOFer is an incredible opportunity to discover the world and get out of your comfort zone.
So show off your bright side, start the day in a good mood, set your alarm clock early, and be prepared for any task! Don’t complain about tasks, but don’t hesitate to ask for clarifications if necessary: being open-minded with a positive attitude makes all the difference.
Before you go…
When it comes to wwoofing, you may think you don’t have to worry about money – after all, you’re volunteering your time so it’s free, right?
That may be true in the short term, but if there’s an emergency while you’re away, you’ll need to send or receive funds overseas. And international transfers can involve high foreign exchange rates and hefty remittance fees.
However, Instarem makes sending money overseas a piece of cake (or rather, a slice of pie…mmm!). With super low fees and great exchange rates, Instarem lets you get on with enjoying your volunteer work and not worrying about transferring funds.
*Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. All details are accurate at the time of publishing. Instarem has no affiliation or relationship with products or vendors mentioned.
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