WWOOFing in Canada
Say the word “WWOOFing” to many people, and you'll be met with a puzzled expression. WWOOF stands for “Willing Workers on Organic Farms,” or “World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.”
Some people use the terms “We’re Welcome on Organic Farms” or “World Wide Orientation on Organic Farms.”
Whichever way you put it, WOOFing can be an ideal opportunity for those who aren't looking for the big city experience in Vancouver.
WWOOFing is a concept that connects people with organic farms that need workers. In exchange for staying on as a farm hand and helping out with household activities, you'll get free accommodation and meals. You may be staying in a spare bedroom in the family home, or you may have your own small cabin on the property. You may volunteer to go picking grapes at a winery, shuck oysters, milk goats, or fix farm fences and dig wells - it’s up to you. Most of the WWOOFing experiences near Vancouver are on organic farms on Vancouver Island, in areas like Coombs, Mayne Island, and Cowichan Valley.
On average, you'll work about six hours per day, Monday to Friday. You and your host will figure out how long your stay will be; many Canadians and international travelers use WWOOFing as a cheap form of short-term accommodation as they make their way across the country.
Not only will you be staying for free, but you'll also learn about sustainable farming and living practices, get to meet new people, and live like a local. You don't make money WWOOFing, but you hardly spend any while you're there.
WWOOFing became popular in the UK in 1971, when people in the cities started spending their weekends on organic farms in the countryside. At first, the activity was called “Working Weekends on Organic Farms,” but it gradually became a type of volunteer employment for young students and travelers.
The most comprehensive WWOOF listings in Canada are compiled on WWOOF.ca. For $25 per year you can access around 1,000 organic farm listings and related info, contact hosts and plan your trip. When you arrive at the farm, you simply present your WWOOF membership card to the host.
*Source: WWOOF Canada