The History of WWOOF in Australia
WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) was started in England in 1972 when the first WWOOFers spent a weekend helping on an organic farm in exchange for their keep. The organization was initially called Working Weekends on Organic Farms, but was changed to Willing Workers on Organic Farms in 1982 after people asked "why only weekends?"
Today there are around 55 WWOOF groups all over the world, including France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Italy, USA, Austria, UK, Nepal, India, Korea, New Zealand and Canada. All the groups are independent, but operate in a similar way, by putting people into contact with each other.
Throughout the world the WWOOF philosophy is the same; WWOOF Hosts provide food and lodging to travellers and students in exchange for between 4 and 6 hours work per day.
Lionel Pollard started WWOOF in Australia in 1981, and over the last 35 years WWOOF has grown into an organization that employs 4 people, publishes the Australian WWOOF Book and in 2015 launched a WWOOF App with over 1,800 Host farms and properties all over Australia.
The WWOOF Book and WWOOF App provide contact details, a description of the property, the work to be done and the accommodation and meal situation. The WWOOFer simply browses through the Book or searches the App, chooses a place they would like to go and contacts the Host to arrange a mutually suitable time to visit.
The choice may be based on geography (close to a route they are travelling); or philosophy (such as biodynamic farming practices); cultural (many of our Hosts speak other languages as well as English) or it may just sound like an interesting place to visit. WWOOFers live and work with the Host families in the same way as relatives and friends do when they visit.
Many of our Hosts are involved in Landcare and Land for Wildlife organisations throughout Australia. WWOOFing is a hands-on way of learning about organic farming and environmental rehabilitation.