WWOOFing: Doing voluntary work on an organic farm for a short period. From the organization WWOOF, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (sometimes called Willing Workers on Organic Farms).
“I have done, like, WWOOFing in the past.” – Actress Shailene Woodley, interviewed by Neda Ulaby for NPR’s “Morning Edition,” March 21, 2014 (audio).
WWOOF was founded in 1971 in the UK as “Working Weekends on Organic Farms.” The founder, a London secretary named Sue Coppard, “recognised the need for people like herself, who did not have the means or the opportunity, to access the countryside and support the organic movement,” according to the global WWOOF website. When volunteers began staying longer than a weekend, the name was changed to “Willing Workers on Organic Farms.”According to a Wikipedia entry, the word “workers” ran afoul of some countries’ labor and immigration laws. The name was changed again, in 2000, to World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. At least 63 countries on five continents host WWOOF organizations; according to the WWOOF USA website, there are 1,840 host farms in the United States. Participants are called WWOOFers and their activity is WWOOFing.
WWOOF “is a new riff on ‘volutourism’”—also spelled voluntourism—writes Steve Holt in a March 18, 2014, article for TakePart, the digital division of the movie production company Participant Media. Holt writes that according in the most recent farm census, U.S. farms reported taking in $566 million in income from agritourism.
WWOOF is a membership organization for farms and volunteers; registration fees range between $5 and $50. No other money changes hands; volunteers receive accommodations and meals during their farm stints.