WWOOF volunteer farms

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by catweasel67, Jun 6, 2014.

  1. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

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    Hola,

    Has anyone used the WWOOF organisation to find work and accommodation? Would you care to give some feedback on it?

    If you're wondering what it is, "WWOOFing" is basically volunteering to work on a farm for some days/weeks or longer in exchange for all (or part) of your room and board.

    I'm considering finding a farm in Austria and going there for a few weeks to both improve my German and have a break from city life...hence the question.

    It also seems to be an interesting, and inexpensive, way to make your way around, experience some of the local culture on a more immersive level....
    #1
  2. Seppo

    Seppo Been here awhile

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    hey,
    i´ve heard good and bad things about it. when i was in australia, alot of young germans did it there. one story i can remember was a german girl that worked on a farm far away from the next settlement. her room was small and dirty, the food was terrible and the farms where unfriendly. things like rats in the kitchen and so on. she left early.
    it all comes down to the farmers. but if you´re handy with a combine harvester or a tractor you could spend a few weeks on our farm here :evil
    #2
  3. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

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    Last time I drove a tractor I was 8 :p but hey, how hard could it be ;p As for the combine...yeah, that's probably a step too far :p They're huge bastards :) I'd probably destroy the nearest town trying to do a 3 point turn :evil
    #3
  4. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    A neighbor goes WWOOFing every winter. In the summer she has worked at times on the same organic orchard/farm where I sometimes work. Winters usually find her in Italy with some odd or unusual folks on a farm. (She has a very Italian name.) Many organic farms are smaller and people often have odd side businesses which can be cider or baskets or wool or weavings or pottery. My neighbor is very capable and adaptable and probably an asset on any WWOOF farm.

    My neighbor likes people. She DID leave one farm because the unfriendly neighbors were more unpleasant than the farm was pleasant. Usually, though, she has stories to tell about interesting people doing unusual things.

    I am not a real people person. I would not try WWOOFing myself. For my neighbor it works great.
    #4
  5. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

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    Thanks for the feedback so far guys :)

    It's nice to get some re-assurance.
    #5
  6. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

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    I have a little farm here if anybody wants to come around.
    I have also done the farm travel. Grew up with farm equipment so it came easy to me. Cotton, wheat, and even tomato harvesters for 4 years on the road.
    I even made a profit.
    #6
  7. ihatemybike

    ihatemybike Been here awhile

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    This is the third year my wife has spent the summer WWOOFing and she really enjoys it. The first two years were in Alaska with her on small family farms and a kayak eco-tourism place on Tutka Bay. She really bonded with the family on her first year's host farm near Fairbanks and we visited them while traveling back from the second year's farm near Homer. The kayak place was really cool location, but too much work for one WWOOFer and she elected to leave early.

    This year she's just a bit closer to home. She's currently at a chestnut tree farm near Portland, OR where she describes the work load as very light and is scheduled to be at a artisan wood tree farm / lumber mill near Bow, WA in a couple weeks.

    Really the best thing to do is read the reviews of the hosts, if it sounds like it's too much work, too dirty, too remote for you then it probably is. Remember this is volunteer stuff, you don't need to stay if you aren't happy. While the kayak place wasn't ideal, they were very accommodating with her request to leave. Her review of the host indicated that they are great people with a beautiful location, but just too much work for one.

    My wife blogs a bit about here experiences here.
    http://yellocoyote.blogspot.com
    #7
  8. UKbri

    UKbri Just a Rider

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    Haven't used WOOFing but used http://www.helpx.net/ a lot in USA Canada and Australia. Met nothing but great people and had a fantastic time. great way to get to know the local people, area and of course save money.
    #8
  9. E-Bum

    E-Bum Been here awhile

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    I'll second this. Used it in Australia, NZ, Bolivia and Chile. It's awesome and the hosts are more than just farms. Highly recommended.
    #9
  10. One Fat Roach

    One Fat Roach honey badger

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    Bump...
    #10
  11. SushiStalker

    SushiStalker Adventurer

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    disclamier I have no experince with any of this, But I have heard of WWOOF Nightmares.

    In planning for my for next trip(the big one, sell it all and go)

    I found http://www.workaway.info/
    its global, some sort of review system, not just agro-tourism

    1st concern I had was "schengen region" visa restrictions about not working, I assume since your not getting paid it's all good.
    #11
  12. One Fat Roach

    One Fat Roach honey badger

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    Could you elaborate on such "nightmares" ?
    #12
  13. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

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    Google will give you plenty but they generally revolve around unfriendly hosts/fellow travellers or being worked too hard, too long or both.

    As with all things, folks find it easier to complain and criticise than they do compliment but, I believe that for the vast majority of folks, WWOOF works as advertised on the tin.
    #13
  14. One Fat Roach

    One Fat Roach honey badger

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    Im not interested in google, I'm interested in hearing this persons nightmare stories with WWOOF even though he or she has not participates. Thanks for the suggestion though.

    I've had a friend or two tell me its something worth doing. I've been interested in a year or two about doing it in Australia. I understand not every person will have a fantastic experience but I'd like to hear the bad ones, and why they were bad. Just like anything, doing research before helps out tremendously, especially when it comes to a host family you'll be staying with and basically working for for weeks on end.
    #14
  15. E-Bum

    E-Bum Been here awhile

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    I'd suggest hopping on workaway.info and helpx.net as has been suggested before, especially for Australia. Many WWOOF hosts also are on these two sites, but you get the advantage of getting to read reviews from past helpers. The other thing I like about them is that there are different options if you get bored of doing farm work. I worked in a hostels, as an assistant guide, as a photographer for a hunting lodge, photographed a paintball tournament in New Zealand etc...


    I did have a couple "bad" hosts, in that they were dickheads to their workers or just weird people in general. But that's what happens when you invite people into your home without knowing them. There were dickhead volunteers as well. I, personally, never had a problem with anyone. The good far outweighed the bad. I highly recommend it.
    #15
  16. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

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    Thanks for those two links, I wasn't aware of their existence. Am still chasing down cheap holiday alternatives, not to mention have an opportunity to improve my German so the more information, the merrier.
    #16
  17. E-Bum

    E-Bum Been here awhile

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    I highly recommend both, as I said. Such an awesome way to practice another language if you want, get off the beaten path, travel cheaply or for free as long as you don't mind spending some time working. For me, all those things are what travel is about. I feel more re-energized by giving tome volunteer hours in a little family hostel cleaning rooms, cooking with the staff, getting to learn about them than any kind of traditional hotel vacation. Let me know if you have any questions, I'd be happy to help.
    #17
  18. One Fat Roach

    One Fat Roach honey badger

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    Cool info. I was aware of helps but not.of the other. Time.to do some homework!

    :freaky
    #18
  19. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

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    Thanks E-bum :)
    #19