WWOOFers for Dinner
By Michelle Mather
The other night our friends Denice & John and Janet & Ed came for dinner. Denice & John brought along their 3 WWOOFers. Have you ever met a WWOOFer? A WWOOFer is a person, from anywhere in the world, who comes to stay at your home and works on your organic farm. WWOOF (which stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) was started in the U.K. in 1971 and has spread across the globe. Canada has a WWOOF organization and information is available at http://www.wwoof.ca/
John & Denice run an organic blueberry farm in Tweed, ON. They have hosted WWOOFers from all over the world, who have come to live with them and help out on the blueberry farm and on their rural property. John & Denice’s current WOOFers are a young couple from Japan and a young woman from France. Last summer we met WWOOFers there from Mexico, Korea, Germany and the U.S.
The WWOOF organization exists only as a way for interested WWOOFers to find and link up with interested hosts. All of the various countries that have a WWOOF organization have a website in which interested WOOFers can browse the listings of potential hosts in order to find a situation that most closely matches their interests or traveling plans. A potential WWOOFer initiates communication with a potential host and if both parties feel that it is a good match, plans are made for the timing of the WOOFer’s stay.
WWOOFers do not pay their hosts for accommodations and WWOOF hosts do not pay WWOOFers for their work. A WWOOFer is expected to work 4 – 6 hours a day, 5 to 5-1/2 days a week. In exchange the host family provides the WWOOFer with 3 meals a day plus snacks and accommodations.
John & Denice are passionate supporters of the WWOOF program. They treat the WWOOFers like members of their own family and have become very fond of many of them and have remained in touch with many of them after the WWOOFers have returned to their native country.
More information about the many countries that participate in this program can be found at the international website for WWOOF at http://www.wwoof.org/.