How I became a WWOOFER

wwoof_tree-cleaning .

After my adventure on the sea as fisherman, I’ve tried to find a new field to live an amazing experience where I could learn new things and increase my skills. After 1 week of reflection, I decided to be a WWOOFer.

What is WWOOFing?

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WWOOF is an acronym which has evolved since its creation in 1971. At the beginning it meant Working Weekends on Organic Farms. The goal was to offer people who lived in town the possibility to discover the countryside while helping the organic agriculture.

However many volunteers started to follow this program by working for longer times at a farm. In consequence the acronym changed to Willing Workers on Organic Farms. But again, this new definition wasn’t good enough for some countries, mainly because a volunteer can be considered as a worker under the law.

In 2000, the term WWOOFing became World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farm which is a better definition for its role and its global dimension.

To be a WWOOFer, you must buy the book for $65 and at the same time you receive your membership number.

What kind of exchange do we have between a host and aWwoofer?

WWOOFing works ONLY THROUGH exchange. If you don’t like to socialize or meet new people and get to know them daily, then you should  find something else.

As a WWOOFer, you are a guest. But you also become a part of the family. You must participate in family life and its daily tasks.
About the WWOOFer, she/he is a volunteer who wants to support the sustainable development of organic agriculture, in exchange for accommodation and food. You work between 6 to 8 hours a day (usually an average of 40h weekly). However at Trevor’s farm, I get more than these basics.

Although you’re not paid, you are not free for your host! I reckon save between $300 and $400 weekly as a WWOOFer

What are the advantages as a WWOOFer?

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The main reason is that, first of all, you don’t earn money and you don’t spend it! Because you work as a volunteer, the host doesn’t expect too much from you. Also it’s one of the rules of the WWOOFing organization, you don’t have to work more than 40h weekly. If you are working more than that, then find another farm. During working hours, don’t expect lazy work. You have to do your job properly but you’ll never work more than 7 to 8 hours a day. Compared to my last position as a fisherman and my 16 to 20 hours daily, it was a huge shock! You can enjoy this lifestyle and at the same time you will learn many things about organic agriculture. Another good point, you will drive some big machinery which you couldn’t drive in a different job without a license or a ticket (and experience). This is a really good point for my future work experience.

Finally, and I want to highlight this point, you’re living with true Australian people who want to share with you their culture and lifestyle. It’s a unique life experience which will increase your understanding of family habits, food habits and hobbies.  Moreover (if your host is a really good one) they will drive you to the best places they know in the area, outside the common touristic trail. This time you’ll discover Australia and its hidden wonders. Fishing using a rod, hunting or walking around a national park only known to real Australian people.

Finding an organic farm- is it easy ?

Trevor told me one thing: when he posted his ad on gumtree, he got 100 emails in 24 hours. Considering that the Northern Territory only has 160 farms in an area the size of France and Spain put together, that’s a lot of competition. I asked Trevor why he chose me: “You spoke English I understood on the phone and you gave me every detail about you and what you want”. Most of the other people who sent an e-mail to Trevor didn’t include all their information. Now you know what to do! The more you say about who you are and what you want, the better it is! I invite you to fill the application form just here.

About Trevor’s Farm

I’m in a family with 4 children (17 years old, 15 years old, 23 months, and 8 weeks) in the middle of the bush with tropical trees. Karen’s parents don’t live far away so they come regularly. There is also Kyle, another WWOOFer. But he has finished his third month and flown down to Sydney to meet his sister.

About my tasks, I have to feed the animals and keep the property clean before starting Trevor’s project: The construction of a caravan park. Sometimes we make some funny construction, like a wild dog trap, and I drive lots of different machinery.

I share a lot with the family during breakfast or dinner and often I play with Kya (23 months) who has so much energy. KJ and Zak are used to meeting new people and it’s easy to talk with them thanks to their maturity. Trevor likes to do some unexpected jokes (never bad) and he’s really a cool mate.

wwoof_goose-with-chick

About the activities during the weekend, I have discovered the Territory Wildlife Park and the Berry Springs Nature Park. We went for a family barbecue and a quick jump in a natural pool. It was awesome!

Now I let you discover the video!

[youtube_video id=rbCVnHGYcPY]

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