WWOOF: How to choose a farm?
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If you are unsure what WWOOF is please start here.
Working on organic farms for labour exchange can be a thrilling opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, save money while travelling, and learn new skills!
It is important though that the farm you are choosing to stay is what you are expecting. Every farm is different and expects different things from you. It is crucial to be clear with your objectives and ask many questions. The task of choosing a farm can be daunting, most countries have hundreds of farms if not thousands in larger countries.
When we first started to research into WWOOFing in Italy we were shocked at the amount of farms looking for workers. Each countries website is a bit different but generally you will be able to search using various filters. For example you may have a general idea of an area you would like to be in, the type of farm, or even diet type.
The farms often give a small blurb about themselves, what they are looking for, and a few photos but we have also had great experiences with farms that originally gave little or no information online.
Think of things that are important to you and what you can or cannot live with. Accommodation ranges from camping in yards to private apartments so it is a good idea to inquire where you will be staying.
The WWOOF international page states that you are required to work 4 hours a day in exchange for accommodation and food. In our experience it is usually not as structured as this. We have worked 11 hour days mixed in with some half days and full days off. Keep in mind that if you choose the right farm you will most likely become great friends with your host and enjoy the work you are doing together.
If you have dietary restrictions this is important to state upfront. Depending on the country some farms may be unable or unwilling to accommodate for example a gluten free or vegan diet. Search for these in the farm list to see if a farm already eats this way and worst case just state in your emails what you require.
We like to stay on farms that eat vegan since our philosophies match and we will more likely become friends. Also keep in mind some farms keep animals for food as they are often self sustainable. If this makes you uncomfortable do not apply to these farms and seek out fruit or vegetable farms like we did.
Now that you’ve chosen a farm, see how to apply for the next important steps to securing your spot.