How Volunteering With WWOOF Can Change Your Life
The environment is one of the most talked-about topics in the world. With so many countries committing to introducing sustainable ways of living, people as a whole are joining the effort. Organic living is one of the best ways to do your part for our planet, and in this post, we're going to talk about volunteering with WWOOF.
What is WWOOF?
WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. You might have heard of people referring to WWOOF as Willing Workers on Organic Farms, but both names have the same meaning.
The organisation's roots lay in London when a citizen decided to turn a passion for the countryside into a way for city people to enjoy natural living whilst helping small farms to remain in operation.
From the 1970s to today, WWOOF is a popular option for people that want to volunteer on an organic farm.
The organisation also offers travellers the opportunity to stay on farms and receive free food and accommodation. Young people can take a gap year to see the world without having to worry about the cost of living.
An example of a typical WWOOF offer for travellers is four or five hours of farm work a day, in exchange for meals and a place to sleep.
While WWOOF began in London, it's now a worldwide organisation. Each country has its own rules and regulations, but you can find out more about them here.
The Advantages of Volunteering With WWOOF
Becoming a 'Wwoofer' has a lot of benefits for people of all ages. Let's take a look at them.
Woofers get to live a life many of us can only dream about. The opportunity to travel the world on a low budget is why most people volunteer with the organisation, but it's also a fantastic way to meet new friends.
Living on an organic farm or eco-community with like-minded people means you have the chance to make friends for life. People of all ages can join WWOOF, so it's ideal if you want to broaden your horizons.
Organic farming is becoming more popular because of the health and environmental benefits it offers. In the future, there will be more organic farms and plenty of job opportunities.
If you're not sure what you want to do with your life, then you might find the answers through volunteering. Volunteers learn new skills and can use them to find work in their chosen field.
It's also a fantastic way to develop your language skills, which you can use to travel or even move to another country.
Discover New Values
A lot of people that volunteer on an organic farm choose to do so because they want to see the world. But once you see how organic farming benefits the environment, you'll find yourself becoming a supporter and advocate of sustainable living.
Improves Your Health
Air pollution can affect your breathing, cause a persistent cough and might even cause irreversible illnesses. But when you spend time in the fresh air, your lungs can begin to recover, which makes it an ideal retreat for individuals that struggle with lung conditions.
It's common for people to feel overstressed in the workplace, and severe cases can lead to depression. For WWOOF volunteers, escaping to the countryside gives them time to relax, de-stress and enjoy nature.
It Opens Your Mind
If you're the kind of person that doesn't do well with the 'norm', then WWOOF could be the perfect answer to your problems. Volunteering with the organisation enables you to experience new ways of living.
A lot of people decide to live on organic farms or in eco-communities because they have such a positive experience with WWOOF. It opens your eyes to ways of living that you might not have considered, and for some, it's a powerful experience.
How to Become a Wwoofer
If you're thinking about volunteering with WWOOF, but don't know where to start, here are some tips.
Apply for Membership
WWOOF is only accessible to members, so you'll have to join the organisation in your country. It's important to note that people under 18 years old cannot join alone. There's no upper age limit, but if you don't meet the minimum age requirements, an adult will have to volunteer with you.
You can find the UK WWOOF website here.
Look at Opportunities
Once your membership is active, you can begin to look for opportunities. Most people prefer to start by volunteering in their home country, but it's entirely up to you. Once you find an organic farm you like, you can apply to volunteer there.
Learn & Have Fun
Different farms offer a variety of accommodation options. On average, most farm stays are two to three weeks, but some people stay for months.
The work you do depends on the farm itself. Some farmers will ask you to learn how to make bread and bake, while others might ask you to take part in feeding animals and preparing crops.
The skills you learn might open up future job opportunities, so make sure you choose a placement that interest you.
Quick Tips for Volunteering With WWOOF
Now you know who WWOOF are and what they're all about, you can decide if it's an opportunity you'd like to experience. Here are some quick tips to get the most out of Wwoofing.
- Know What You Want - Are you an animal person? Or do you prefer growing organic fruit and veg? Make sure you know what you want before you sign up for a volunteering position.
- How Much Time Do You Have? - Some farms have strict rules regarding the length of your stay, so make sure you can offer the amount of time they request.
- Prepare Yourself - Your host farm will have a lot of the equipment you'll need, but you should make sure you have a sustainable water bottle, and the appropriate clothing for the work.
The Bottom Line
Volunteering with WWOOF is a rewarding life experience. It opens up so many opportunities for you, but it also enables you to see the world and perhaps, find a different way of living.
Hopefully, this blog post has given you the information you need to prepare yourself for volunteering, and you can make an informed decision about which placement is best for you.
If you're not ready to volunteer with WWOOF, but you'd like to live greener, then we can help you. Skim offers organic meal delivery UK wide, but we're also a platform for people to discover the latest tips and techniques for sustainable living.
Check out how to grow organic vegetables at home here.