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.
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 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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!
Tamas Varga, Hungary
I graduated as a teacher and working as an IT professional for more than 16 years. WWOOFing 2 months in New Zealand was a life changing experience. In 2009, I established WWOOF Hungary and started to work with hosts and volunteers locally. In 2012 was elected as a director of FoWO and since 2015 serving as a vice Chair of the Federation.
Becky Young, Canada
A lifelong desire and after WWOOFing in Australia in my early 20’s cemented my dream to one day live off the land. I learned very early in my 30 year struggle with an autoimmune disease the critical importance of eliminating toxins in our food and environment. My family purchased a 2 acre plot in the beautiful BC mountains 25 years ago where we are WWOOF hosts. The founder of WWOOF Canada chose my family to continue its legacy where I am Executive Director these past 8 years. I was honoured to be elected in 2012 and still remain as FoWO Director and Treasurer.
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.
Gaston Fernandez, Chile
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.
Chemi Peña, Spain
I knew about WWOOF in 2001 and since then I was dragged by the never ending possibilities of learning by doing in the outdoors.
It is a privilege to help others to build their dreams of a better world through organic farming and sustainable lifestyles. My life and that of my family is very much now centered on WWOOF at many levels.
I am devoted to support this initiative with my experience as IT professional, while I am fond of helping also with my hands in physical, organic projects 😉
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.
Sarah Potenza, USA
I grew up on a family farm, and went on to study sustainable agriculture for my 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.
Jandi Halin, Sweden
Born and raised in a collective house called the Anthill in Sweden with about a hundred people living together. I’ve been WWOOFing in most continents. Today my family lives in a creative community in the countryside of Sweden where we grow veggies and keep bees and chicken. I initiated the non-profit association WWOOF Sweden back in 2005.
I got to know WWOOF back in 1999 when I was travelling and wwoofing in Ireland, Italy and Spain. This was an experience that put me on the path towards settling down on a small farm and opening it up for wwoofers as a host in Norway in 2007. I started working for WWOOF Norway in 2019.
For me, WWOOF is a very important organisation, as it is a great way to spread and share first-hand knowledge about organic farming and different cultures worldwide. Knowledge which is so important to share amongst everybody.
My main interest in my private life is beekeeping. For me, understanding the bees and their society is very facinating and which I hope will be a lifelong study.
Jan-Philipp Gutt, Germany
WWOOF is part of my life since 2007. By the time I finished school WWOOF-Germany’s annual Whitsun meeting took place close to my home town and motivated me to visit WWOOF-farms in Germany and Spain for a period of one full year. Everything happening after that has been predicated by experiences I could make while wwoofing : My studies in agricultural science at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, my passion for honey bees, a „goat-year“ at the Reimehof in Bavaria and of course my activity for WWOOF-Germany. Since 2012 I am a member of WWOOF-Germany’s board and ever since contemplated a lot about WWOOF’s core, it’s natural essence: Getting to know and sharing a countrified lifestyle. A cooperation in friendship. The willingness of helping another to acquire new skills. And the motivation of living close-to-nature, which means in awareness of natural interrelation
Basil Black, Italy
I grew up on a small farm in central Italy where I learnt much of what I know about growing plants and rising animals.
I have hosted WWOOFers for many years on our family farm and have extensively travelled myself as a WWOOFer in many different countries. Before working as a coordinator for WWOOF Independents I took part in the formation of FoWO. I am also actively involved in the coordination of our local national organisation – WWOOF Italy.
In my free time I go mountaineering and exploring wild places.
Rodrigo Rocha, Portugal
Born in Brazil and living in Portugal for more than 20 years, Rodrigo is father of three girls. He had an academic career in Geology but decided to change for a more sustainable and laidback lifestyle.
He has been a Host since 2004, is the founder of WWOOF Portugal and when not working for WWOOF you can usually find him on a boat or surf board out at sea.
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.
Laura Kallfelz, Germany
Some years ago, I lived in and helped to develop a small sustainable, off-grid project in Germany. That’s when I finally realised, that I love living closer to nature than most of the people do. With WWOOF I found a network to share this lifestyle, ideas, things we struggle and learn from others. As a Host and as a WWOOFer myself I made some incredible experiences in several countries. The last years I am looking for a quiet place to settle down in this world and by working for FoWO I had the opportunity to combine travelling the world and my technological background with my passion for sustainable living and the WWOOF culture.
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