The Federation of WWOOF Organisations (FoWO) is a non-profit company that acts as the umbrella body for WWOOF national groups around the world to come together and co-operate.
FoWO’s mission – To unite, promote, protect and support the WWOOF movement around the world.
FoWO’s vision – A WWOOF group in each country of the world, helping to build a sustainable, global community.
FoWO promotes the WWOOF movement, provides general information about WWOOF organisations and represents the interests of WWOOF worldwide whether it is to answer the myriad of requests from potential service users, co-ordinators or journalists or to address issues impacting on WWOOF.
FoWO is a strong worldwide network of 42 national groups that work together in the spirit of an international federation with democratic principles. Member organisations regularly communicate, sharing precious knowledge and information for the development of a steadily growing movement.
WWOOF started in London in 1971 when a London secretary – Sue Coppard – looking for an economical way to get out into the British countryside at the weekend hit on the idea of offering a local organic farmer some help in return for food and somewhere to sleep. Her first visit was a great success – and the idea spread. Soon people were organizing similar exchanges across the UK and further afield.
WWOOF has developed very organically over the last 45 years and it wasn’t until 2013 that the Federation of WWOOF Organisations (FoWO) came into being.
- Managing WWOOF in countries without a national WWOOF organization – WWOOF Independents
We are often approached by farms interested in hosting WWOOFers in countries where there is not, as yet, a national WWOOF group. For cases such as this we operate WWOOF Independents. This service enables famers and volunteers to hook up in these countries.
- Supporting new national WWOOF groups to launch
Whilst national WWOOF groups are independently owned and operated we provide advice, support and information to anyone wanting to set up a national WWOOF group in their country.
- Setting and maintaining minimum standards
All FoWO members agree to a set of minimum standards and are accountable to FoWO and other national WWOOF groups in maintaining these standards.
- Addressing trademarking issues
WWOOF as a term has entered everyday vocabulary in some countries and is sometimes used by other companies or organisations to describe activities which are not strictly “WWOOF.” We now hold the trademark for the WWOOF name in Europe and a number of other countries and will challenge the misuse of the term “WWOOF.”
- Helping to legalize and protect the WWOOF movement
Laws and cultural attitudes to volunteering vary from country to country. FoWO provides support to national WWOOF co-ordinators when they are liaising with government offices in their country to ensure understanding of WWOOF.
- Supporting and promoting existing national WWOOF groups
FoWO consults its members (national WWOOF groups) and, wherever possible, provides services to enable national groups to be run more effectively and efficiently. This might include (but are not limited to) the operation of this portal site, the development of a web platform for national use, offering paypal services or generating publicity materials.
FoWo operates a small grants programme each year. Several different funding pots enable new or existing WWOOF groups to develop their services further. We also support co-ordinators of smaller groups to attend international meetings of WWOOF once every three years.