All about WWOOF Australia
Who we are, where we are and what we do.
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, helping to build a sustainable global community.
WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) started in England in 1972 when the first WWOOFers spent a weekend helping on an organic farm in exchange for their keep. The organisation was initially called Working Weekends on Organic Farms, but was changed to Willing Workers on Organic Farms after people asked “why only weekends?” Gradually around the world WWOOF groups changed this to World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
Today there are over 55 WWOOF groups all over the world, including Switzerland, Germany, France, Japan, UK, USA, Austria, Korea, New Zealand and Canada. All WWOOF 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 practical learning opportunities and meaningful experiences to travellers who stay with them, in exchange for between 4 and 6 hours volunteer assistance per day.
Lionel Pollard started WWOOF in Australia in 1981, over the last 41 years WWOOF has grown into an organisation with around 800 host farms and properties all over Australia.
From 1981 until July 2017 WWOOF Host details were printed in a list that was sent to WWOOF volunteers when they joined, and as the list of hosts grew, this list grew into the Australian WWOOF Book. As technology improved, opportunities arose to improve the way Host information could be provided to WWOOFers. The WWOOF Australia App was launched in August 2015 and in October 2017 the WWOOF Website platform was launched, with both Host and WWOOFer Profiles, messaging, forums, noticeboard, map and list searches and availability calendars for all members. The WWOOF Book was quickly made obsolete and is no longer printed.
In April 2018 an upgraded WWOOF App was launched to reflect the features of the WWOOF Website, allowing WWOOFers to also search for Hosts while they are off line. WWOOFer volunteer profiles were also included in the new App, along with most features of the website. The Website and App had a major overhaul in 2020 and are constantly being upgraded in order to provide Hosts and WWOOFers with the best possible platform to connect with each other. In 2022 the App was phased out as mobile phone browsers improved access to the WWOOF website.
In 2020 the WWOOF Team developed a work from anywhere model in response initially to bushfires that began 6 kms from the WWOOF Office in November 2019 and finally reached the WWOOF Office grounds in early January 2020. The Office was saved by wonderful local volunteers, and eventually power was restored. The COVID-19 Pandemic followed shortly afterwards and the WWOOF Team decided that the “work from anywhere” model should be a permanent fixture, freeing up the WWOOF Team to visit Hosts and WWOOFers, once COVID restrictions allow, and manage the WWOOF Program from wherever they may be.
WWOOFers browse through the host profiles, choose a place they would like to go and contact the host to arrange a mutually suitable time to visit.
The choice may be based on geography (close to a route they are travelling); philosophy (such as bio-dynamic farming practices); the types of things the volunteer would like to learn about; 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.
The WWOOF Australia Team is located in Buchan, East Gippsland in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains. The WWOOF Team are on board to answer phones and emails during weekdays, with Traci being available to assist with all manner of enquiries. WWOOF Webmaster Shane and App Developer, James assist with web design, development and troubleshooting.
For contact details of WWOOF groups and information about WWOOFing in countries without a WWOOF Group, see WWOOF International.
WWOOF Australia acknowledges the Traditional owners of the land on which we work. We honour the ongoing cultural & spiritual connections, heritage, customs & beliefs of Aboriginal people & pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.