How to Volunteer For Free on an Organic Farm

February 22, 2011

While I was visiting Australia between 2008 and 2010 I spent a few months volunteering on an organic farm in south Western Australia through WWOOF.org.

WWOOF Australia WWOOF Australia

WWOOF stands for Worldwide Opportunities On Farms and for an annual fee, you are provided a very detailed book of all the organic and biodiversity farms in your country.  All you have to do is find your area and run through the list of hosts to see which ones catch your eye and then call them up to see if they are taking on hosts at that time.

WWOOF Australia WWOOF Australia

The way it works is the host provides you with a place to stay and food to eat in exchange for your work on their farm.  Where you sleep can vary from a tent to a separate building from the main house to a room in the main house.  The food you eat is usually what you harvest during the day so you get to eat a very healthy, chemical-free diet!

WWOOF Australia WWOOF Australia

The work is very rewarding, planting seeds and watching them grow and then harvesting them to eat later that day straight out of the ground was the highest reward for me.  I thoroughly enjoyed learning what each plant needs to thrive, how to companion plant to diminish the chance of disease or pests (organic farming uses no chemicals to ward these off obviously) and getting my hands dirty!

WWOOF Australia WWOOF Australia

Walking up at the crack of dawn took some getting used to and because you cant just spray everything with chemicals on an organic farm there was a lot of manual labour to take care of the plants.  Obviously the work varies from each farm, the details of which are usually laid out in their description in the WWOOF membership book and not to mention, you should make clear what you are expected to do before agreeing to go to the farm.

WWOOF Australia

 

I was very lucky with who I worked for as I met some wonderful people, got to stay in the guest bedroom of the beautiful self-built main house as well as use the pick-up truck to go on day trips on our days off which meant we got to explore the gorgeous surrounding areas.

WWOOF Australia WWOOF Australia

WWOOFing is possible in just about every country and is a great way to see the world without spending too much money or if you want to immerse yourself in a certain culture and learn a language, its an excellent way to do so if you have a small or zero budget.

WWOOF AustraliaWWOOF Australia

My annual membership back in 2009 was $50 Australian Dollars from what I can recall and if the pictures in this post (shot by me on the farm I worked at) dont convince you to give it a try, then I highly recommend it!

(All photos shot by myself. See more at Flickr.)

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