WWOOFing stands for Willing Workers On Organic Farms. Basically you are exchanging your labour for food, accommodation and experience. At the same time you are helping the environment by helping to support environmentally sustainable agriculture, which is a labour intensive and not necessarily highly profitable business.
WWOOF Australia are an organisation that coordinates placements. So why do WWOOFers do it? The food and accommodation provided is obviously part of it. While the work may not be easy, as an unpaid worker you will not be expected to work excessively long hours. A big part about the experience for many is the educational opportunities that it provides.
Volunteers get to experience life on an Australian farm as well as learning new skills. Often different farms often specialise in teaching certain disciplines, such as bio-dynamics and permaculture as well as organic horticulture. For people from cities who are used to food coming from plastic packs and having flowers delivered it can be good to connect with production in harmony with the natural world. It is not just farming however, building, landscaping and even catering may be called for.
Increasingly universities and also employers are requiring more than grades alone. Voluntary work is a great way to improve a CV or a higher education application. You may not have an ambition to be an organic farmer or anything even remotely related, but a stint of WWOOFing in your past can help open up other doors.
The social aspect of WWOOFing is something that many who experience about it value highly. The opportunity to work and with people from around the world is combined with relaxing after wok. As always when travellers can meetand talk about their travels it is a prime occasion to swap stories and tips, and will certainly give you ideas for your future travels.
Australia is a hotbed of WWOOF activity. It is the one area of voluntary work in Australia that is both fairly common and that has food and accommodation included as a benefit. No two WWOOF situations are the same however. As you will be living and working alongside farmers and their families you should expect to be thoroughly vetted before being offered a placement. Different people do things different ways and have different rules, the vetting process makes sure of a good fit between worker and situation.