Opportunity Vs. Opportunism: A Note On the WWOOF Exchange

Jun 19, 2023

(Photo: WWOOF Host Solstedt Organics, BC)

Hello WWOOFers and Hosts,

The WWOOFing season is well underway, and we would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that WWOOF is a fortunate organization, with greater harmony than we might think likely for an organization of such scope. Members have a great deal of freedom when determining what a specific WWOOF visit will look like. But with great freedom comes great responsibility and a greater demand for maturity on both sides.

No matter the situation, during a WWOOF stay, certain values must be upheld.

As stated in the WWOOF Charter and WWOOF’s membership terms,WWOOFing is an exchange, not a transaction. A WWOOF visit is an opportunity to live together and share a way of life. Work is not a “payment” for food and lodging, nor is food and lodging a reward for the work being done. There needs to be an element of willingness and curiosity on both sides, or a WWOOF exchange simply won’t work.

WWOOF hosts should never treat WWOOFers as subordinates, even if the host has more knowledge and experience. Hosts should always treat WWOOFers with kindness and respect. Likewise, WWOOFers must make sure to be respectful of the home and routines of the family/community that is hosting them. 

When scheduling WWOOF visits, good communication is key. Ensure that you ask lots of good questions and clearly state your expectations. The host and WWOOFer should by schedule a phone or video call before confirming a Visit Request: The Visit Request dates are not the only thing that needs to match up, after all.   

It is also important that WWOOFers do not enter into agreements with too many hosts, as these situations can become difficult to manage. Also, WWOOFers should let the host know as soon as they realize they won’t be able to follow through on their proposed visit.

WWOOF is not a contract, but when a host accepts a Visit Request, and the WWOOFer confirms it, they are both making a commitment. A WWOOFer arrives expecting to have a clean, safe, comfortable place to sleep and relax, food for three meals a day and a host who will be attentive to their needs and ready to share their knowledge. At the same time, a host expects a WWOOFer who arrives when they say they will, and will be willing to put their time and energy into completing the projects and tasks on the farm. 

No-show WWOOFers can disrupt plans for hosts. Hosts may have made arrangements to buy extra food, prepare accommodations, plan their work schedules & activities around the WWOOFer’s arrival, and even turned away other WWOOFers.

WWOOF offers many opportunities both to hosts and to WWOOFers – we hope everyone will enjoy them without taking advantage.

Wishing you all many great adventures WWOOFing!

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