frequently asked questions
WWOOF UK holds a list of organic farms, gardens and smallholdings, all offering food and accommodation in exchange for practical help on their land. WWOOF is an exchange – you volunteer your help in exchange for food, accommodation and an opportunity to learn about organic agriculture. As a WWOOFer, you can expect to work about 5-6 hours per day 5 days a week, or a combination of hours/days to suit your host and yourself not totalling more than 30 hours per week. In order to volunteer on WWOOF host farms in the UK you must become a member of WWOOF UK. Membership lasts for 1 year.
The host farms are available for preview (minus contact details) here
Full contact details of the hosts are only available to members of WWOOF UK. Once your WWOOF UK application has been processed you will be able to view full contact details of all hosts, either in the printed book (book membership) or the members' section of the website (online membership).
To join WWOOF UK click here Then select one of the green words:
- Online - single £20
- Online - joint £30
- Book - single £20
- Book - joint £30
depending on the type of membership you want. You should then be guided through the rest of the process. You can pay by Paypal, credit or debit card. If you want to pay by card, follow the process as normal through to the payment screen at the end and look for further instructions towards the bottom left.
If you choose to join, but not use a credit or debit card, you can pay in the following ways:
Paying by Bank Cheque :
Do you have a bank account with a British Bank?
If YES you can send a cheque in Pounds Sterling made out to "WWOOF".
If NO, do NOT send us a cheque - cheques drawn on banks other than a British bank involve expensive bank charges and we cannot accept them. They will be returned to you and your membership will be delayed. We cannot accept cheques in Euros or Eurocheques.
Paying in Cash :
Our experience over the last five years is that sending cash carefully is not a problem. If a letter gets lost, it is because the postal service sometimes loses post, NOT because it contains cash. To send cash carefully, send only notes in pounds sterling - do not send coins or other currencies. Wrap the notes in aluminium foil - this helps prevent detection and theft. We can also accept an International Money Order, obtainable from some main Post Offices in some countries, but it must be made out in UK Pounds Sterling, not your own currency.
The address to use is PO Box 2154, Winslow, Bucks MK18 3WS. Please do not send anything through the post that has to be signed for because our PO Box address will not accept it.
You can apply online or download and print an application form here Please remember though, WWOOFers are volunteers and are therefore more free to come and go than an employee. For this reason, hosts should not depend on them as an alternative to paid, skilled labour.
WWOOF UK Host Eligibility and Organic Guidelines
A WWOOF host should have the following as a key part of their lifestyle or organisational mission:
- the production of food or other products derived from the natural world
- the management of land in an environmentally sustainable way
- an activity supporting organic growing
WWOOF hosts should follow the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) organic principles as listed below, but need not be registered with a certificating organisation.
- The Principle of Health: organic agriculture should sustain and enhance the health of soil, plant, animal human and planet as one and indivisible
- The Principle of Ecology: organic agriculture should be based on living ecological systems and cycles, work with them, emulate them and help sustain them
- The Principle of Fairness: organic agriculture should build on relationships that ensure fairness with regard to the common environment and life opportunities
- The Principle of Care: organic agriculture should be managed in a precautionary and responsible manner to protect the health and well-being of current and future generations and the environment
One of the main aims of WWOOF is to give people the opportunity to gain experience in organic methods, we expect these methods and principles to be predominant on WWOOF farms and holdings or for an active conversion programme to be in progress.
Your five-digit membership / WWOOF ID number will be listed towards the top of either the 'receipt' or 'invoice' email you get when you join WWOOF UK. You can also find it by logging in - it is listed on the left-hand side of the screen under "Membership". If you are a book member, you will see your ID number both on the letter that accompanies the book and highlighted on the envelope you receive your book in. You will need to quote this ID number when you first contact hosts, in order that they can check in advance if your membership number is valid. This computerised ID check has replaced the old system of giving WWOOFers membership cards because cards were often forgotten/lost. Also, hosts were previously unable to check a volunteer's membership status prior to their arrival.
No, your membership subscription entitles you either to online membership or book membership. If you want to have both, you will need to send a short note explaining what you want, your contact details and a cheque for £10 to WWOOF UK main office (see our address on the Contact page).
Membership of WWOOF UK enables you to volunteer with hosts in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland only.
There are WWOOF national organisations in many other countries. For example, joining WWOOF Portugal allows you to WWOOF in Portugal. There is currently no international membership - you must join the national WWOOF organisation in each country where you want to WWOOF. The membership fees are small and cover the cost of running each service. See http://www.wwoof.org/national.asp
For countries where no national organisation exists, host lists are compiled by WWOOF Independents and WWOOF Australia http://www.wwoof.org/newsite08/
Joint membership is usually for couples or good friends who want to WWOOF together. One of the partnership can WWOOF on their own, but you cannot both WWOOF at the same time in different places. You will only be supplied with one book / one set of membership logon details. The cost is £30.
***NB*** Joint membership does not apply to a lone parent travelling with a child/children. In this case the parent need only buy single membership, as the children are simply their dependents and not WWOOF members.
Since recent changes to immigration rules, the situation has become confused regarding non-EEA nationals who wish to enter the UK as general visitors (tourists) in order to WWOOF. You are strongly advised not to leave your country without being sure you have the right to enter the UK.
If you are from outside the European Economic Area, please read the information here:
More information can also be found in the WWOOF section of the Low-impact Living Initiative (LILI) forum http://www.lowimpact.org/forums/
We are often asked about the Tier 5 (Charity Workers) visa. We understand that this visa cannot be obtained for WWOOFing. Neither WWOOF UK nor its host farms can act as sponsor for Tier 5 visa applications.
All hosts should have insurance. Most take out public liability and employers liablity, but WWOOF cannot explicitly advise you what you need.
WWOOFers - you are responsible for your own safety. Check you have insurance that covers medical care including transportation home, accidents, and loss of property. You should also be covered against you injuring other people or losing or breaking other peoples' property. Make sure your insurer knows that you will be a volunteer on a farm.
In the UK we have something called the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that you can apply for from main Post Offices and it covers you needing state medical care in any country in the EU. There may be something similar available in other countries. If you live in Europe you may also want to check out a company called OvEuropa (www.oveuropa.com). OvEuropa is a registered non-profit association which provides it's members with a third party liability and personal accident, injury and illness insurance suited to volunteer work.
The cost of joining OvEuropa is 35.00 Euros for one year for their basic plan, including the insurance premium. The association has been formed to respond to the need for a suitable insurance at a low cost for WWOOFers whilst staying on WWOOF host farms. The association can also provide information regarding visas, permits, health and medical care requirements within Europe.
If you join as an online member, you should be sent your membership information - including your username and five-digit membership number - within minutes, by email. Check your junk/spam folder if you do not receive the email, or see our 'help with your account' pages. If you join as a book member you should expect to receive your book within two or three weeks.
This is not possible; we do not have an open office policy. You must make an application for membership either online or by post. WWOOF UK operates a membership application process rather than just selling books or information online.
Your annual membership entitles you to receive either the printed UK host book or a password for online membership. Both lists include all WWOOF hosts in the UK with full contact details, although the online version is updated much more regularly (you will only receive one printed book per year). With this list you can make your own arrangements to WWOOF directly with hosts. If you live in the UK and are a book member, you will also receive four quarterly newsletters which are sent through the post. Each new edition of our newsletter is available online. We will email you when a new edition is available to view. Existing newsletters can be found online. We will not automatically send any newsletters to book members if your postal address is outside the UK, due to the high cost of postage. We will happily send them to you if you contact us to request them and pay a supplement in advance.
Many hosts are very happy to take foreign WWOOFers and help them with their English. Please remember though that you will still need to have a genuine enthusiasm for taking part in organic farming during your stay with your host. This will almost always involve physical activity, being outside and getting your hands dirty. It may be that you would like to join an English course while you are volunteering in the UK. This is possible, but only by prior negotiation and agreement with your host. N.B. WWOOF should not be thought of as a simple way to gain a placement to complete a college course you have been studying in your own country.
You must be at least 18 years old to join WWOOF UK and to WWOOF without the presence of a parent/guardian. This is for insurance reasons. If you are under 18 and accompanied by your parent/s or a guardian that is fine, because they are the WWOOF member and you are their dependent. We are occasionally asked if two friends, one 18 and one 17, can volunteer together. Some hosts may be prepared to take you if the 18-year-old is a WWOOF UK member and the 17-year-old has their own insurance, but the key to this is you have to be clear and honest with the host about your age, your insurance situation, your parental approval and your legal relationship (guardian etc.) from the beginning. WWOOF UK cannot say more than that, because the legal implications will be different in each case.
It is up to you and the host to decide what suits you both best. WWOOF stays can vary from a weekend to a long-term stay lasting months. We are also thinking of trialling day WWOOFing in London, but you will need to have your own accommodation.
Although there are fewer hosts needing help at this time of year, there are several still listed as accepting WWOOFers in the colder months.
This is easy to do, although there is no link from the main page. Sign in to your account (this bit is very important - you must be signed in) then click here This will take you to the normal sign-up page, but the fact you are logged in will mean the new membership will be associated with your personal account rather than creating a new one
WWOOF is not about paid working. Therefore WWOOF UK main office or UK hosts cannot help you obtain visas, work permits or letters of recommendation. It is up to you to find out what you have to do in order to enter the UK for your visit / travels.
We suggest allowing at least a month to make arrangements; if hosts are busy it can sometimes take a while for them to reply. If you want to volunteer over the summer - especially August - we advise you to make arrangements as far ahead as possible, as a lot of hosts fill up at this time. If you're emailing, make sure you include the word WWOOF in the subject heading and your five-digit membership number in the body of the text.
It is best that you contact the host directly and ask them, as some hosts are very happy to have children around and others are not. Once you join up online you can search specifically on this criteria to filter out all the hosts that will not accept children by arrangement.
Only with the host's permission.
We do not place you - you place yourself. Once you have a WWOOF host list for the country you want to volunteer in, it is up to YOU to contact the farms. How long they take to reply depends on them. We suggest that you don’t try to arrange things ‘last minute’ because hosts are very busy people and may take a while to respond to your enquiry. Always include the word WWOOF in the subject heading of your emails.
Yes, please be assured that we consider all feedback from volunteers and hosts. We may not have time to respond to each email, but we are very grateful for all comments as they help us improve our service to you.
WWOOF Independents is a separate organisation from WWOOF UK which lists all hosts in countries that do not have their own national organisation. They are also a membership organisation but we have arranged for our online members to have automatic access to their list. If you are an online WWOOFer member you can login to our website and access WWOOF Independents from our home page.
Under the Distance Selling Regulations 2000 (DSR), consumers buying via the internet have the right to a 'cooling off' period of seven working days following the purchase of an item. However, due to the nature of the WWOOF product, the consumer agrees to waive this cancellation right by paying the required WWOOF membership fee. In other words, once you have bought a WWOOF UK membership, we are not required to give you a refund if you change your mind. This is in line with UK Trading Standards.
It is best if any problems can be resolved by open and fair communication between the host and WWOOFer. However if this is not possible, further action might have to be taken. Both hosting and WWOOFing is a voluntary activity based on trust. If the arrangment is not working for whatever reason, either side has the option to end the exchange. This means a host has the right to ask a volunteer to leave their property (it is their home, after all) and a volunteer is free to leave the host early. If you feel the office needs to know what has happened and follow up, WWOOF UK main office does have a complaints procedure in place. You can email us at email@example.com and be sure that we will talk to you about your concerns in confidence.
Please note that WWOOF UK is unable to provide any documentation to confirm to your college or university that you have stayed with a host and been an acceptable WWOOFer. If you think you need this kind of confirmation we would suggest you ask your host before you arrive whether they are willing to provide it for you at the end of your stay, but they are not obliged to as part of their host role.
Please log out of your account and log back in again to ensure it has been activated.