Posted by: A Part of the Solution | January 16, 2012

To a Prospective WWOOFer

Before you invest in the directory or directories offering you the connections which make WWOOFing possible, you may want to spend a little time asking yourself some hard questions and demanding of yourself honest answers. Frankly, WWOOFing isn’t for everyone. There are as many reasons to WWOOF as there are people who have WWOOFed, are WWOOFing and will WWOOF in the future. And there are even more reasons to find something else you’d rather be doing.

Let’s take a few fer instances.

Do you thrive in primitive living conditions? Many, many WWOOFs don’t have electricity, or have only limited lines of access. Many WWOOFs don’t have running water with a relationship to a toilet or water heater. Some WWOOFs have amazing amenities for their volunteer staff, even beyond a scenic view and the cultural exposure. But if you don’t like spiders or small woodland creatures or assorted reptiles sharing your housing, you may want to find another way to get closer to the land and the practices of sustainable agriculture.

A corollary to the above question is, Can you entertain yourself? Not only might you not have electricity, you might also be the only WWOOFer on the WWOOF site. Or you might spend a fair amount of your volunteer hours working alone. If you’re not comfy by yourself without technological distractions, you may wish to refrain from WWOOFing.

The second corollary is, Can you live without privacy? You may be sharing a tent, cabin or room with one to four people at any given time during your WWOOF. Accommodations vary widely and with little consideration for age, gender or preference.

Do you find satisfaction in undertaking repetitive, fussy work in all-weather conditions? Transplanting seedlings into prepared holes in a light rain when it’s 54°F/12°C is a ready example. Or weeding out tomatoes when it’s 89°F/33°C, and so windy there’s a grit in the air. Or taking many 5 gal/19 l buckets of warm water out to the pigs when it’s 10°F/-13°C. All theses are examples from the temperate zone where the climate is fairly moderate.

Have you got a broad, ready-for-anything palate? Other people don’t eat as you do. Some of them live on white bread and peanut butter. Some of them live on rice and pickled veggies. Some of them live on corn bread and beans. Some of them live on fou-fou and fava. Some of them live on meat, including parts of the animal which in your own body could be donated for transplant should you have an unfortunate occurance.

Are you healthy? Largely free of allergies? Able to carry enough of your necessary prescriptions to see you through your WWOOF? Good health may appear to be an obvious WWOOFing attribute, but I enunciate the question for the obvious reason that WWOOFers sometimes don’t seem to have considered this one question before setting out to labor in the fields/pastures/orchards/barns &tc of the world. If you’re travelling well off the beaten path in your WWOOF, do be certain to have all the right vaccinations and boosters and such before you go. Lack of these may deny you entry to your port of call.

Do you understand the seriousness of your commitment to the WWOOF site, however briefly you’re there? Small diversity farms count on every pair of hands they can find to get the job done. At many WWOOFs, you might spend most of your time doing something which seems simple, not to say tedious, like picking fruit or vegetables. The degree of care given to harvesting produce the right way can increase it’s market value and longevity in storage dramatically. If you’re not that into it, and you allow it to show in the quality of your work effort, you’re actually causing the farm’s income to drop. If you don’t bother to follow the planting instructions for the potatoes exactly, long after you’re gone the farmer you ‘helped’ will be wondering why only one potato in five planted in your row came up. If you don’t take a moment to survey the scene and be certain the lights are off/the gate is latched/ the bin is secured/the tank is full you might even cause an actual disaster. And nobody wants that.

So ask yourself these few questions. Maybe you’ll be able to think of some more as you ponder those above. There are lots of ways to do good in the world. WWOOFing is one of them. But it’s not the only answer by a long shot.



  1. hello everyone
    I had a friend from Germany that speaks to me of WWOOF
    Viseting me he already has one day my little new Garden as I do in the desert of Morocco after After I dug land fo waters where I welcome my friends
    and I want to put it on http://www.wwoof. org
    how you can help me. thank you

    • Allez à la site web ici: Cette site s’existe pour aider des fermiers aux payees sans un organisation WWOOFde lui-même.

  2. Hmm, where did that potato example come from, I wonder???

    • Oooh, you know. It was just a random example I came up with. Surely nothing like that could ever happen here….

  3. Certain meds I never leave home without. Wondering what in heck people run around on the planet with, that they would consider traveling far from home without thinking about what would happen if it “happened” again when they weren’t close to their normal doc?

    • Exactly. It’s not just a language barrier problem, either. There are lots of places to WWOOF in the world where doctors are as scarce as potable drinking water. Access alone is a nightmare.

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