Mother Earth News: Need Help on Your Farm? Try a WWOOFer

Try What? What is a WWOOFer? Some kind of Dog?

By: Julia Shewchuk

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WWOOFers are enthusiastic young people, who want to spend time working on farms and who have signed up with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms or WWOOF to volunteer time to help on farms in exchange for a roof over their head, food, and education. WWOOF is an international host organization that matches up WWOOFers and farms via an on-line or print directory. There is a small, annual membership fee involved for WWOOFers, $25, and a small, annual donation from WWOOF Host Farms.

Both wwoofers and host farms post profiles and pictures on the WWOOF site. Any WWOOFer looking for a host farm can search all member farms by geographic location, type of farm, whether they are open, need help urgently, or any other factor a WWOOFer may consider. WWOOFers and hosts can leave ratings for each other, never anonymous, and slamming is rare. WWOOFers or farms can and should also be contacted directly for references.

Forums open to both WWOOFers and hosts and only to hosts or only to WWOOFers can help with advice, recommendations or answers to questions. First contact can be by email or phone and is usually initiated by the WWOOFers. How it proceeds from there is very different and unique to each farm.

Serenity Acres Farm now has been a WWOOF host for about six years and we have hosted well over 300 WWOOFers from all over the world. We typically host 5-6 WWOOFers at a time and stays vary from 1 week to 6 months. Our longest-term WWOOFer has been with us for 3 years, the second longest time is 2-1/2 years. Due to the diversity of Serenity Acres and the steep learning curve, we always recommend at least staying four weeks.

If you are a non-industrial homestead, ranch or farm, if you need help juggling farm chores, if you enjoy teaching, and if you love people around you, then consider becoming a WWOOF host farm. The help is indispensable for the investment of including the WWOOFers into your farm family and team. Yes, you will have strangers on the farm; yes, your privacy will never be the same; and yes, there can, no, there will be some not so pleasant encounters of the WWOOF kind, but overall hosting WWOOFers will be an immensely rewarding experience.

How to Be a Successful WWOOF Host Farm

Here is how we are able to have such a good track record:

1. Detailed Wwoof Profile – Clear Expectations. Serenity Acres Farm’s profile on WWOOF is very detailed in work description and expectations, which shows WWOOFers right up front what and who we are looking for.

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