WWOOF UK's ethos and mission

welcome to WWOOF UK

As a WWOOFer you can expect to...

Receive warm, dry, clean and safe accommodation
Accommodation varies from host to host and ranges from a tent to your own room in their house, but can also be in a caravan, a yurt, dorm accommodation etc. In the hosts’ profile it’s mentioned the type of accommodation they provide but this can vary according to the season and occupancies. It’s best to check with them in advance if you need more clarity.

Receive learning opportunities as part of your stay, by helping your host with their everyday tasks
one of our hosts You will have hands-on experience of organic agriculture and ecologically sound lifestyles and the opportunity to ask your host many questions related to their practices. In their profile each host provides you with a brief descriptive of their activities and of the type of tasks that you can participate in. This varies greatly and ranges from gardening related activities, to eco construction, to taking care of animals and so much more. You can choose a host according to the skills you already have, the ones you want to develop and any other particular interests of yours. Agricultural activities are seasonal so always check beforehand with your host what you will be able to help out with at the time of your visit.

Be able to complain to WWOOF UK if you feel these expectations have not been fulfilled
The WWOOF UK team telephone screens each new host to ensure they meet our standards. We also hope this will enable us to guarantee a certain quality to WWOOFers. We are therefore eager to receive your feedback regarding positive and negative experiences, as these will help us to improve our service.

Receive adequate food and drink
WWOOFers enjoying salmon In their profile the host mentions if they can cater for vegetarian, vegan or diets including meat. It’s best to let your host know in advance about your dietary requirements and also if you have any allergies, to know if your preferences can be catered for. Many hosts will provide you with food that they produce themselves. It can be that they prepare the food for you, self-service or that you have to cook. Remember that there are cultural food differences and that the types of food that can be produced in the UK can vary from what you are usually used to eating if you come from abroad - be prepared to adapt.

Be treated with respect at all times
The host-WWOOFer partnership is one based on trust and respect and at no time should you feel subordinate to your host. If there are tasks or situations that you feel uncomfortable with,  then you should share your concerns with your host.  Please refer to the Safeguarding page, for some guidance about how you could keep yourself and others safe within the WWOOF exchange.

As a WWOOFer you are expected to...

Be genuinely interested in learning about organic agriculture and sustainable living practices and to do hands-on tasks related to this way of life
WWOOFing is not a relaxed holiday. It most of the time involves physical activities which you will find tiring and boring unless you’re interested in what you’re doing. If cultural exchanges and cheap travelling are your priority, then other organisations will suit you better (Couchsurfing, Workaway…).

Arrive prepared to a host and ready to do the expected tasks
gaining fencing skills You should be in good physical and mental condition to do the tasks expected of you. Bring adequate clothing (e.g. boots, waterproof gear, gloves) with you, as you cannot expect your host to have everything and also to your size. You might also want to bring books etc. for your time off. Don’t forget that you’re being welcomed as a friend, so if you have any talents as a musician, poet, photographer, these will certainly be much appreciated!

Have the necessary documents and visa (if applicable) to WWOOF in the UK and to ensure your own safety by having adequate insurance
WWOOF UK will not assist any WWOOFer to obtain travel documents (e.g. Visa) and WWOOF UK does not offer insurance coverage for WWOOFers. It is your responsibility to have the necessary travel documents and health insurance/personal liability insurance. If you live in Europe you may want to check out the insurance association OvEuropa – www.oveuropa.com. OvEuropa is a registered non-profit association which provides its members with a third party liability and personal accident, injury and illness insurance, suited to volunteering. The cost of joining OvEuropa to benefit from this insurance cover is 25 Euros for one year (to check with them).

Not risk your own and other peoples’ safety by doing dangerous tasks
As a WWOOFer you should not be asked to use agricultural vehicles (tractor, combine-harvester etc.) or machinery (chainsaw etc.). It’s your responsibility to refuse these tasks if they are proposed to you.

Treat your host with respect at all times and respect their privacy and family life
The WWOOFer should be polite at all times with their host and with other people on the premises. As a WWOOFer you are welcomed into the home of your host. You should be conscious and sensitive to their needs for privacy and family time.

Keep an open mind when meeting people from other cultures
There may be cultural, political, religious, language and many other differences between WWOOFer and host. These should not undermine the partnership of trust and respect that unites them. It’s important to be conscious of cultural sensitivities.

(As a WWOOFer please be conscious that you should never feel obliged to participate in cultural/political/religious activities or rituals of your host. Any feelings of discomfort should be discussed with your host or with the WWOOF UK team.)

Accept that WWOOFing means there is no financial exchange between WWOOFer and host
Helping out your host as agreed means that in exchange they provide you with free board and food – they cannot ask you for money for this. You cannot ask for any financial reward from your host for the help you’re bringing or to cover your travel and other expenses. If for any reason, your tasks keep you busy for longer than expected, then you should discuss with your host to get an extra day off but not to get paid for your extra help.

Negotiate with your host, before you arrive, concerning the needs and expectations of both parties
When you contact a host you should let them know what interests you about their activities and give them all the practical information regarding your stay (when you wish to stay with them, your dietary preferences, query regarding accommodation if applicable). You should also introduce yourself to them and advise them on what skills, knowledge, interests you have.
Never exaggerate or pretend to have a skill you don’t as this will definitely lead to an uncomfortable situation later on. Most hosts don’t expect you to have any particular skills or knowledge. Therefore you should not feel intimidated if you’ve never been in an agricultural setting before, or never done the tasks which you’re expected to do.

Give the agreed hours of help
one of our hosts The hours of help expected from you vary from host to host. In their profile the host mentions an approximate number of hours per day and days per week that they expect from you. This however may vary according to the season, the number of people helping out at that time, the weather etc. There are often no fixed hours on a farm, just tasks which need to be done, and may vary in length from one day to the next. The tasks should be done properly and with a positive attitude. As well as helping with the agricultural duties a WWOOFer is expected to help with the basic household duties related to their stay, eg. setting the table, washing dishes, helping with cooking, keeping the areas they frequent clean and tidy. The partnership based on respect between the WWOOFer and host should ensure that both feel the exchange is fair.



Treat the information on the host list as private and not to share this information with non-members
A WWOOFer should never give private details regarding their host, especially their contact information, to anyone else. This is a matter of respect, safety and honesty. Sharing  contact details with others so as to allow them not to pay the registration fee to WWOOF UK undermines the organisation. It’s also unfair to those who do pay as they might lose out on a WWOOFing opportunity to someone who is not a member.

Always use your WWOOF membership ID when you contact a host
Every host can check your membership status through our website using your membership ID.

Contact hosts sufficiently in advance and advise of any changes, as soon as possible
Try to contact a host minimum 2 weeks before your planned stay. Accept or decline an offer made to you as soon as possible. Take good note that it’s an obligation for you to reply to any message from a host in a 2 week period. If you have a change of plan let the host know as soon as you can. A host who is expecting your stay will often make some preparations in advance by doing extra food shopping, by putting aside tasks for you to do, by going to collect you somewhere, and if you do not advise within a reasonable time delay that you will not be arriving or be arriving at a different time/day, then it can cause great inconveniences for them. Also they may have refused requests from other WWOOFers in order to have you stay, so it’s unfair to your fellow WWOOFers too.
WWOOF UK is very serious about this point and we urge our hosts to inform us if a WWOOFer does not reply to messages or does not advise them of a change of plan in advance. All concerned WWOOFers will be contacted by us and if, after warning, they fail to honour this expectation, then their membership to WWOOF UK can be terminated. We also recommend WWOOFers who have to wait too long for a reply from a host (more than 2 weeks) or get no reply at all, or are not advised if plans have changed, to contact us so that we can take the necessary actions.

WWOOF UK cannot condone the breaking of national laws or the misuse of substances or alcohol. WWOOF UK reserves the right to cancel a membership registration immediately if we believe the member’s actions may bring the name of WWOOF UK into disrepute.

As a WWOOF UK host you can expect to...

Welcome volunteers who are genuinely interested in learning about organic agriculture and sustainable living practices
The people you welcome are offering you their time and help as they are interested in learning about your activities and lifestyle. WWOOF UK strongly advises people to only become a WWOOFer and propose help to hosts if they are deeply interested in organic agriculture and sustainable living practices. We encourage those who are less interested in these issues to choose other organisations.

Receive the agreed hours of help in return for your hospitality
Engaging in WWOOF involves an exchange in which the WWOOFer certifies that they will help you out a certain number of pre-agreed hours in exchange for accommodation, food and the learning opportunities that you offer. The number of hours should be reasonable – between 20 and 35 hours in a week is suggested.

Choose which volunteers you will accept
You only can choose which WWOOFers you will welcome, when, and for which length of time. Furthermore you don’t need to justify your choice.

learning togethercollecting seaweed

To be treated with respect at all times
The host - WWOOFer partnership is one based on mutual respect and trust. A WWOOFer is not subordinate to you, nor you to them. Any uncomfortable feelings should be discussed through open and honest dialogue.  Please refer to the Safeguarding page, for some guidance about how you could keep yourself and others safe within the WWOOF exchange.

Be able to complain to WWOOF UK if you feel these expectations have not been fulfilled
WWOOF UK is eager to receive your feedback regarding positive and negative experiences, as it will help us to improve our service. We hope that together we can build up a system that meets the expectations of everyone.

co-operation

As a WWOOF UK host you are expected to...

Negotiate with your volunteers, before they arrive, concerning the needs and expectations of both parties
properly equipped As your profile is only a brief description of your activities, it is essential to reply to any question that the potential volunteer puts to you. In turn you should also ask the person any questions which you deem necessary. It should be clear to both parties what the exchange is – what type of help you need, for how many hours, and for which accommodation and food.

Provide adequate food and drink
In your profile you must mention if you can provide for vegetarian, vegan or diets including meat. It’s best for both parties that it’s clear beforehand what type of food will be on the table. You can provide the WWOOFer with a mix of food from your own produce, if you have some, or food bought from outside. It’s not necessary that you always prepare the food for the WWOOFer. It’s recommended however to share meals often as it creates a nice atmosphere.

Provide hands-on experience to WWOOFers and be willing to pass on your knowledge to them
WWOOFers should be able to participate in activities which are related to organic agriculture and sustainable living practices. This can include gardening, eco construction, taking care of animals, learning how to preserve and/or prepare food from the garden and so much more. A WWOOFer will choose to help you because they want to learn about the activities you are engaged in and your lifestyle. Therefore it’s important that you are available and willing to share your knowledge with them.

Be sufficiently insured

WWOOF UK does not provide insurance cover for hosts. Please make sure you are sufficiently covered.

Reply to all contacts from WWOOFers in a timely manner and to inform them promptly if you have to change or cancel arrangements
building together You should reply to all messages from WWOOFers within a week (maximum 2 weeks), even if it’s just to say ‘No, sorry we don’t need your help right now’ . If you have accepted to welcome a WWOOFer and that for some reason you can no longer host them, then you must let them know this as soon as possible. WWOOFers often have to make many arrangements (such as asking for holidays from work, booking transport tickets etc.) and it’s very frustrating and unfair for them if they have to wait a long time for a reply or get no reply at all.
WWOOF UK is very serious about this point and we urge our WWOOFers to inform us if a host is not replying within 2 weeks or does not advise them of a change of plan in advance. All concerned hosts will be contacted by us and if, after warning, they fail to honour this expectation then their membership of WWOOF UK can be terminated. We also recommend that hosts who have to wait too long for a reply from a WWOOFer (more than 2 weeks) or get no reply at all, or are not advised if plans have changed, to contact us so that we can take the necessary actions.

Provide warm, dry, clean and safe accommodation
Accommodation can range from a tent to a private room in your house but can also be in a caravan, a yurt, dorm accommodation etc. In your profile you must mention the type of accommodation you provide. As this can vary according to the season and occupancies it’s best to clarify to the WWOOFer before they arrive what you can offer them.

Be growing organically and using ecologically sustainable methods
You can only become a host if you are actively and consciously engaged in organic agriculture and other sustainable living practices. If this is not the case then please refer to other organisations (for example Workaway) to get the help you need from volunteers.

Provide a safe working environment for the WWOOFer and not to request them to perform dangerous tasks or use dangerous machinery
growing together You should limit the risk of injury to the WWOOFer and yourself to a minimum. You should never ask a WWOOFer to do a task which you would not do yourself for safety reasons. WWOOFers should not be requested to work with vehicles (tractor, combine harvester etc.) or dangerous machinery (chainsaw etc.).

Keep an open mind when meeting people from other cultures

There may be cultural, political, religious, language and many other differences between WWOOFer and host. These should not undermine the partnership of trust and respect that unites them. It’s important to be conscious of cultural sensitivities.

Help avoid any uncomfortable situation for you or a WWOOFer, in your host profile you should mention if you or your family or community abide by and partake in cultural/political/religious activities or rituals. Please note that a WWOOFer should never feel like they are obliged to join you in any of these activities or rituals.

Not engage WWOOFers instead of a paid worker, and to accept that there is no financial exchange between WWOOFer and host
A WWOOFer should never replace a paid worker. They are helping you voluntarily and you have no status of authority over them such as in a traditional employee/employer relationship. A WWOOFer who provides you the agreed help should not have to pay for accommodation and food. You should not pay them for their help nor pay for any of their personal expenses (e.g. travel, leisure). If for some reason the WWOOFer is kept busy with their tasks for longer hours than expected you should compensate by giving them an extra day off, but not money.

WWOOF UK cannot condone the breaking of national laws or the misuse of substances or alcohol. WWOOF UK reserves the right to cancel a membership registration immediately if we believe the member’s actions may bring the name of WWOOF UK into disrepute.

International definitions of WWOOF...

Sue Coppard, founder of WWOOF, has described WWOOF as:
‘Offering the means and opportunity for people to connect with the land, with oneself and with each other and supporting the organic movement whilst learning through trust and exchange.’

At a meeting of international WWOOF organisations in Korea during September 2011 this mission statement was agreed:
‘WWOOF is a worldwide movement linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non monetary exchanges, thereby helping to build a sustainable global community.’

The Federation of WWOOF Organisations, formed in May 2013, has stated:
The Company's objects are to unite, promote, protect and support the WWOOF movement around the world.

Happy WWOOFing