Welcome to our WWOOF website portal!

I hope it will be extremely successful in spreading the WWOOF message far and wide. Read the full message of WWOOF founder, Sue Coppard.

 

About FoWO

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 History

WWOOF started in London in 1971 when a London secretary – Sue Coppard – looking for a way that made one feel part of  country life, 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.

 

FoWO Activities

  • 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 farmers and WWOOFers 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.

  • Grants

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.

 

FoWO Inside

Chair Person:

Scarlett Penn, United Kingdom

I first learned about WWOOFing and communal living whilst volunteering on a wildlife conservation project in Costa Rica. I came back and volunteered at community of 25 people, then moved there, and has now been co-ordinating WWOOF UK for 10 years. I recently moved to my own smallholding on the English / Welsh borders where I will also be welcoming volunteers. When I’m not growing or working for WWOOF, I like playing folk music on the tin whistle and going exploring in my famous yellow van.

 

Directors:

 

Ahmet Berkay Atik, Turkey

I should admit that WWOOFing changed my life. I quit my big city life to start WWOOFing. My dream was to visit every WWOOF host in Turkey. And then guess what, I was offered to coordinate WWOOF Turkey! Since then I live in rural Turkey. If you ask me why I have started this journey, it’s all about the search for ‘real’ food. Me and my wife are passionate about food, we believe that ‘you are what you eat’. So we try to grow our own food as much as we can. Who knows, we may become a WWOOF host one day!


Becky Young, Canada

My family coordinates the WWOOF program in Canada and are also WWOOF Hosts. We are committed to life-long learning to live more sustainably and to share that education & passion with others.  We are honoured to be working together with WWOOF groups around the world in support of Hosts and WWOOFers and building a global community who are passionate about the sustainable organic stewardship of food, animals and land. It is a great pleasure to also work as a Director with FoWO in support of these objectives.


Benjamin Olaitilo Olaniran, Nigeria

A retired teacher, administrator and environmentalist.Joined farmers development Union (FADU) as Organic Fair Trade Coordinator 2009, started WWOOF in Nigeria after a visit to WWOOF Germany. I Participated in WWOOF/IFOAM International conference in Korea, 2011 as only coordinator from Africa. I started and facilitate organic gardens in schools in Nigeria with support of Slow Food Foundation For Biodiversity, Italy. I Participated in WWOOF Regional meeting in Siera leone, 2013. Organic farming in formal way, is not well pronounced in Nigeria. In 2014, we partner with vantage organic Foods, Indian and today on record, produce the first set of certified organic farmers in Nigeria. In 2017, I lead Nigeria delegates to participate in Terra Madre event in Turin, Italy.


Derek Freitas, Romania

I had my first agricultural experience on a WWOOF farm in my home country of the U.S. I experienced 7 WWOOF farm exchanges in 5 countries before arriving in Romania. I have been a WWOOF Romania Coordinator for the last 3 years, which is a program of an association he works for called Eco Ruralis that supports peasant farming, agroecology and food sovereignty. My colleagues, the coordination committee and Iare peasants who grow food, save traditional peasant seeds, engage political decision-makers in policy change and educate the public about practical programs and policy solutions regarding land, seeds and markets.


Eszter Matolcsi, Italy

I was born in Hungary but I’ve been living in Italy for more than 20 years. After a degree in Foreign Languages and Literature I quit the city life and actually I live with my husband and two children in the Appennini hills where we have a family farm. As we like to share our everyday life with other people we became members of WWOOF Italy and we host wwoofers since 2005. In my area in North Italy I’m the local wwoof coordinator since 2006. In the last few years I joined the team of WWOOF Italy as the contact person for FoWO. Recently I took part in the european project that created the LLOOF (Living and Learning on Organic Farms) online platform. One of my interests is handrcaft and I collaborate with a local non-profit assotiation that produces hand-made articles involving disadvantaged people.


Gaston Fernandez, Chille

As an agricultural engineer, I have always been keen to produce food healthily. Back in 2000, whilst managing the first organic project in Chillan Chile , I was contacted by some young people from Canada, USA and Germany, asking for places to stay and volunteer. I linked them with the organic farmers on my Project. In 2002 I visited New Zealand as wwoofer. The WWOOF New Zealand team said they would support me to start WWOOF in Chile. Returning to Chile quickly I set up a national WWOOF group. In the early years other WWOOF groups would promote our hosts in their books. I am happy to be WWOOF Chile manager, each year it is more dynamic and I enjoy getting to know the wwoofers and hear their experiences. Our office is in Talca, central south of Chile, and my two sons support me in this job.


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Harish Chander Tewari, India

I’m an Organic Agriculture and Horticulture expert, holding a Bachelors degree in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry. I also have Master of Science degree in Agriculture Microbiology and have done research in composting while holding International Diploma (Agriculture Research for Development) from ICRA, Wageningen, The Netherlands. I joined WWOOF movement as host in 2004 and founded WWOOF India in year 2007. I have worked as a consultant in more than 10 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia at various projects related to Organic Agriculture , Livelihood improvement and Water Management funded by World Bank, IFAD, SIDA, IFOAM, Govt of India and others. In my free time I support local Handicrafts artisans of Uttrakhand state in Himalayas in India.


Ignace Komlanvi Mawuena Gbadabizo, Togo

My adventure with WWOOF started in 2012, when I stumbled upon the website of WWOOF UK, I was fascinated, amazed. I believe, since those moments that I was conquered by the concept of WWOOF. Born in a farmer family in southern Togo, I wanted to give visibility to the small farmer who despite their work receives no honor, no merit. My idea is to make the farmer of my country proud of his trade, proud of his work. It is to make him understand the importance of his work in his community in his country. I firmly believe that the sustainable development we want will go through this awareness and recognition of the value of farmers.
I love nature, football and cooking.


Mohammed Ataur Rahman, Bangladesh

I’m an Agriculture, Forestry and Plantation Crop Specialist; Coordinator of WWOOF Bangladesh and presently the Director of the Federation of WWOOF Organizations (FoWO). I’m also the Director, Centre for Global Environmental Culture (CGEC) and Program on Education for Sustainability and the Executive Director and Coordinator of RCE Greater Dhaka. As a Professor of College of Agricultural Sciences of IUBAT University, I teach Ecology and Crop Climatology, ESD, Sustainable Agriculture. Experienced with establishment and management of plantation crops, viz. tea, coffee, rubber, coconut, fruits, spices, timber and bamboo, etc., I am actively associated with organic farming, ecoagriculture and permaculture and multi-strata cropping culture for sustainable rural livelihood.


Rodrigo Rocha – Portugal

Born in Brazil and living in Portugal for more than 20 years, I am father of three girls. I had an academic career in Geology but decided to change for a more sustainable and laidback lifestyle. I have been WWOOF Host since 2004, founder of WWOOF Portugal and when not working for WWOOF you can usually find me on a boat or surf board out at sea.


Sarah Potenza, Italy

I grew up on a family farm, and went on to study sustainable agriculture for her undergraduate and graduate degrees. I discovered WWOOF while travelling in New Zealand, and helped to bring it to the USA in 2001. I love teaching through experiential education, and taught wilderness studies, natural history, and organic farming in the field before transitioning to working full time for WWOOF-USA in 2009. Now I enjoy furthering experiential education opportunities through WWOOF exchanges. In my off time, I garden, grow food, hike and explore along the California coast.

Treasurer:

Becky Young, Canada

Staff:

Amanda Pearson – International Development Co-ordinator

Basil Black – WWOOF Independents Co-ordinator

Pam Boyko – Accounts Payable Clerk

Committees:

  • IT
  • Public Relations
  • Finances
  • Human Resources