So what does WWOOF stand for? No, it doesn’t have anything to do with dogs. WWOOF is the acronym for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and it’s an exchange program that a ton of college kids and post-grads take part in.
Basically, you volunteer to get down and dirty with mother nature, learn all about organic food practices, meet like-minded people, and experience a new part of the world. In return, you’ll get some really good food, accommodations, and a hands-on education about agriculture that you can’t find anywhere else.
Sounds awesome, right? Well I’ve saved you hours of research and listed just 19 of the hundreds of locations around the world where you can WWOOF. Here’s where you should go, what you need to know, and what to expect.
In this hot and humid land, you’ll definitely learn how the Niger River impacts this country’s farming culture. You may even become an honorary member of the Yoruba or Hausa tribe, and you’ll probably learn a bunch about how Christianity ties to dietary customs.
Also, since the yam (AKA isu) is a traditional food, you’ll be digging around the ground to harvest tons of this crop.
In Tanzania, over half of the population doesn’t have access to nutritious food, so working on sustainable agricultural practices are super duper important. For economic and cultural reasons, chai tea is also important to this country since cloves are easily grown here. If you’re a tea lover then Tanzania is calling your name.
Fish is a major staple in the South African diet due to the country’s strong aquaculture industry. If you have any seafood allergies, we recommend you steer clear of WWOOFing here. But if you ever wanted to be a fisherman when you grow up, now’s your chance.
If you’re one of those college students who drinks cup after cup of coffee every single day, WWOOFing in Brazil can teach you everything from where your go-to pick-me-up originates, to how it’s grown and sold. Living in Brazil, the largest producer of coffee, will allow you to become familiar with planting, tending and harvesting these precious pods of caffeine.
If you’re a fan of the sweet syrupy excellence that comes from the Maple tree, then you will definitely want to WWOOF in Canada. You’ll probably learn all about tapping Maple trees and how to make that addictive sappy goodness from scratch.
If you wanna spice up yo life, Peru is the place to be. Here you’ll get to grow fresh herbs like mint, cilantro, parsley and basil which will liven up those bland potatoes, rice and corn. At your homestay you might even learn how to make ceviche from a pro.
Dreamin’ of those chill island vibes? Well, WWOOFing in Hawaii might not be all the rest and relaxation you imagined. You’ll be working long hours harvesting sugar cane and big tropical fruits, like jackfruit. But during your downtime you can definitely catch some waves and soak up the sun. Surf’s up, bro.
Wheat and barely are major crops you’ll be working with since Australia exports tons of this gluten-rich product. You may even have the opportunity to mash grapes with your bare feet to make wine at one of the continent’s many vineyards. And don’t worry, you won’t be eating toooo much kangaroo.
Most of us Americans don’t know what authentic Chinese food really is. Sorry, people, it’s not General Tso’s Chicken. But hold your horses if you’re pissed you won’t get any sesame chicken. Here you’ll be able to learn how rice grows in water, how fresh tofu is brought from farm to table, and why yin and yang are so important in meal preparation.
Japan has it’s noodle game on lock so you’ll likely be working with a lot of buckwheat, rice and wheat. You also may have the chance to build a bamboo and rice husk hut or drive around in a tempura oil-fuiled car. Yum.
Like many of the other WWOOFing destinations, you can live in a homestay and fully immerse yourself in the Nepalese culture. You’ll get to experience how meditation and yoga are incorporated into the daily routine, and chant “ommmmm” over the Himalaya Mountains. You’ll also learn about their traditional method of irrigation farming here.
The main religion in Thailand is Buddhism, which perfectly ties into their holistic agricultural practice known as permaculture. If you decide to WWOOF here, get ready to put down your phone and become one with nature. You’ll learn a lot about sustainable farming, and you might even learn how to build an oven using mud bricks.
Livestock agricultural practices are big in Belgium so you’ll probably be working with animals all day long. The dairy industry is also pretty large, so I’m sure by the end of your time here, you’ll be a pro at milking cows. Another job might include pruning trees and, depending on where you go, you’ll become familiar with Dutch, French and/or German. #cultured
Much like what you’d do on other farms around the world, here you’ll care for the animals and children while balancing your roles as local handyman and gardener. Talk about being a one man band. As a WWOOFer you’ll also grow and prepare the ingredients behind those cute, signature open-faced sandwiches on rye bread and Danishes, cause the main crops in Denmark are small grains.
If you’re more sophisticated in the kitchen, then WWOOFing in France is a fit for you. Living on this fertile land, you’ll be farming a lot of fresh fruits and veggies. Some of the finest cheese and wine in the world is made here and, lucky you, you’ll be a part of this grand production. Let’s not forget the baguettes, which I recommend you learn how to make from scratch.
Germany is known for its hearty and heavy meals, so if you’re down for a lot of meat and bread, I recommend going here. There’s also the opportunity to work on various projects from sheering sheep to helping out with the annual fall apple harvest.
If you’ve ever gone to an Italian household, you know Italians love to eat. But ever wonder how Italians aren’t as obese as Americans? Well WWOOFing here, you’ll be able to see how many dishes are influenced by the Mediterranean diet.
And if you’re not on the coast, you’ll probably be farming in the countryside where a lot of the country’s fresh vegetables grow. There you’ll learn that Italians don’t eat only pasta, pizza and tomatoes after all.
Spain is yet another country that grows a lot of fruits and veggies, but working with livestock such as chickens and cattle is also common. FYI, if you go to a more traditional household, lunch us served around 2 or 3 pm. But don’t fret, it’s followed by a great siesta. Hopefully you’ll learn how to whip up a mean paella, come home to make it, and impress all your family and friends.
WWOOFing here may seem random, but you’ll actually be working in one of the only countries that can produce enough food to feed its population. Talk about sustainability and fresh, local ingredients. Also, because of Turkey’s amazing geographical conditions and climate, it’s no doubt that it’s a leader in the dairy, baked goods and dried fruit arenas.