WWOOF originally stood for "Working Weekends On Organic Farms" and began in England in 1971. Sue Coppard, a woman working as a secretary in London, wanted to provide urban dwellers with access to the countryside, while supporting the organic movement. Her idea started with trial working weekends for four people at the biodynamic farm at Emerson College in Sussex.
People soon started volunteering for longer periods than just weekends, so the name was changed to "Willing Workers On Organic Farms", but then the word "work" caused problems with some countries' labour laws and immigration authorities, who tended to confuse WWOOFers with migrant workers and oppose foreigners competing for local jobs. Both to eliminate that problem and also in recognition of WWOOFing's worldwide scope, the name was changed again in 2000 to "World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms".
The 3 pillars of WWOOF are based on moral values:
- Trust, tolerance and generosity
- The exchanges between the host and the WWOOFeur must be done in the exclusion of any subordination
- The food and accommodation must be offered to the WWOOFer without any monetary compensation. It is only required that the WWOOFer genuinely wants to discover the lifestyle and work of its host.
The main objectives of WWOOF:
- Allow everyone to learn the techniques of organic farming, biodynamics, permaculture, ...
- Offer urban dwellers a life experience on organic farms
- Experiment with alternative, healthy lifestyles
- Inform people to help understand the organic movement and participate in its growth
- Give confidence to move towards a self-sufficient lifestyle
- Visit the area you are from and integrate into local life
- Connecting with people willing to share their knowledge and their daily lives
The organization was created in 2007 at the initiative of David - ex-WWOOFer - and Alexandra. Two passionate earth-lovers willing to make things happen to facilitate the share of knowledge in agriculture. They were assisted by Sophie & Benjamin for the creation of the association.
Our team has grown since then! Below are "the people of the shadows" running the association.
WWOOFing is a real opportunity for anyone who wants to be invested and explore organic farming. WWOOFing gave me the opportunity to get to know people I would never have met otherwise. I could discover, learn and share with my hosts. And all this without any monetary exchange! It seemed normal to me that I'd invest myself to give others the chance to live similar experiences.
Thanks again to all our hosts who open their doors and share their daily lives!
In Charge of Hosts & Communication
I was born in France in a very large agricultural area. The consequences for the population and the land are catastrophic: lots of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, excessive wasteful irrigation, ...
In 2008 I had the opportunity to start the organization with David. I was happy and proud to accept this mission. I’m feeling a little bit like the colibri of Pierre Rabhi’s lengend; it’s a fantastic job.
In Charge of the Website
To promote and make WWOOFing accessible in France we need a great website. My role is to constantly improve the website of the association to make it simpler, and add the features members need.
It is a pleasure to know that thousands of WWOOFers go on an adventure and rediscover the agricultural world every year thanks to new technologies. I think the internet has an important role to play in bringing city and farms together and to create a social link between consumers and producers.
In Charge of WWOOFers
Who would have thought in 1971 that Sue Coppard's idea would become this incredible world wide movement?
Personally, I discovered the WWOOFing in 2007, when two friends expressed their wish to really five birth to WWOOFing in France!
Sharing the same values and desire to change consciences, I joined the team in 2008. Over the years, I've seen this movement growing in the heart of people. I like to think that I brings every day my small contribution for a healthier world!
In Charge of logistic
I have met the WWOOF association through an internship, at the end of my studies.
I must say that to now be part of the development of their projects is for me an incredible chance: the chance to work with people who share strong human values such as generosity and tolerance in order to act for the preservation of Nature.
I do like when we switch between moments of deep reflexions in order to implement our ideas and those of our members, and moments where we gather in eco-festivals or general meetings… this variety of functions is really exciting.
WWOOFing? A mindset, a way of thinking otherwise, a full exchange enrichment, respectful of nature and ethical knowledge. I am proud to be part of the team and the best pledge to sustain the interest and image of WWOOF France every day.
Be Happy, Be WWOOF!