(Photo: WWOOFer Yuki Yamamoto)
There is no doubt about it – WWOOFing takes a leap of faith. You will go somewhere you’ve never been, meet people you’ve never met, to do things you’ve never done. Living with and learning from a small-scale organic farmer while helping with farm work and sharing in the daily routines requires openness and positivity.
But that doesn’t mean you should close your eyes and pick a host at random. And it doesn’t mean you should confirm with the first host who accepts your Visit Request.
Setting up the best possible WWOOF stay is all about communicating expectations and asking questions. You can do this by messaging on wwoof.ca or by setting up a phone or video call (which we highly advise). But what kinds of questions should you ask?
1. Where Will I be Sleeping and What Will We Eating During My Stay?
Living in someone else’s home, these are two of the most important questions to ask. Some WWOOFers will be happy with a tent and a sleeping mat – others will not. Some WWOOFers will be happy to eat mostly anything the host puts in front of them – others have strict dietary restrictions. Know what you need in terms of meals and accomodations and make sure that the host can provide it.
2. What Does Communication Look Like Between You and Your WWOOFers?
Communication isn’t the be all and end all of happy living – but it is very important. There is a lot of adjusting that happens when you arrive on a WWOOF farm – free-flowing communication makes those adjustments so much easier. That could look like gentle host feedback, regular check-ins, or weekly meetings.
3. What is the Social Life Like on the Farm?
WWOOF hosts vary widely when it comes to the type of social environment present on their farm. Some farms are bustling centres, with people coming and going, and lots of fun activities once the chores are done. Others are much more quiet and tranquil.
4. How Flexible is the Work Schedule?
There is so much variety among WWOOF hosts in Canada, and that goes for their work schedules too. Some farms like to keep it free and easy, while others will start and end at more or less the same time every day. Know what works for you and make sure that matches with your farm.
5. What will I be Learning During My Stay? (And Are You Interested in Learning from Me?)
One of the best feelings is leaving a WWOOF exchange your head bursting with new and inspiring knowledge. But an even better feeling is when you make a lasting impact on the farm by sharing some of your own expertise with your host.