In Praise of WWOOFers
September 7, 2011
We love our wwoofers. WWOOFer stands for Willing Worker on Organic Farms. This worldwide movement is growing in leaps and bounds as the pre-eminent way for young people, travellers and life changers to participate and learn about organic and natural farming.
In Australia alone the growth is amazing: In 1997 there were 6424 WWOOFers and 669 Hosts and the WWOOF Book was 174 pages and was printed on conventional paper using standard ink. In 2011 there are 12,150 WWOOFers and 2287 Hosts, the WWOOF Book is now over 420 pages and is printed on recycled paper with soy based ink on presses using solar power.
WWOOFers have been coming here for over a decade, and Sam first learnt organic and biodynamic farming by WWOOFing. They stay in our homes, and live with us in the family. We dont “cottage out” the WWOOFers, it takes out too much of the interest. WWOOFers do whatever we do – eating with us, visiting friends and family down the road, watching the footy at the pub, playing music in the shed, and of course, working!
|In the Vines..|
Our cousin Patrick Leclerc is one of the leading WWOOF promoters in Australia. As a consultant for Work n Holiday, Patrick finds jobs for mainly French backpackers all over Australia. Where language or skills may be a limitation, or where a person is more interested in rich experiences than money, he uses the WWOOF system to get people out into the bush.
This year, we have had some amazing WWOOFers, and we have a French WWOOFer from Patrick right now. The biggest problem is when WWOOFers leave… Its such a sad moment for the kids especially. We get attached to our new global friends.
Are you WWOOF material? We prefer WWOOF members (insurance reasons) and non-vegetarian, non-smokers. Give us a call or email – and if we cant have you straight away we have some local connections who also take WWOOFers and might have room.
Update March 2012: regarding VISA EXTENSION through WOOFing, copied from www.wwoof.com.au March Newsletter:
DIAC advise that WWOOFers must work the within the hours specified above for their visa extension application. 28 to 42 hours per week is the industry standard for WWOOFing. If WWOOFers work more than 6 hours per day, then you will need to make arrangements with the WWOOFers for any additional hours they work over 6 hours per day. These hours can either be paid work (this is not WWOOFing and WWOOFer Insurance would not cover the paid hours) or the WWOOFers could have time off on other days in exchange. A week is counted as 7 days.