How to find a suitable host?
Sometimes when I say I work as a coordinator for this thing called WWOOF I get the question “Could you recommend a host for me?!” Of course, I can, but that would be my own preference. Then I try to switch perspectives and turn the question back to the person asking. A few questions to ask yourself when looking for a WWOOF host are: What am really I interested in? What would I like to support with my own sweat and blood? Do I like to work with animals? Do I want to grow veggies? Am I interested in something specific? How nerdy am I? Perennials or nut trees? Commercial food production or community living? Am I interested in the social aspect of WWOOFing? Is it required to have a beautiful lake near the farm? Or do I want to prepare to start my own self-sufficient farm? These questions could work as a start but if you look within your own self you may find out that the geographical aspect weighs even higher, or the climate. Do I want to WWOOF during winter when there is snow in Sweden or do I want to be part of a strawbale and clay construction project in the summer? Learn how to build a commercial greenhouse or a geodesic dome. If you use the filters or search bar you may actually find hosts that would like you to be part of their answers to those questions.
2. How to write applications better? Read the host’s presentation, if you haven’t you may just as well take any farm and be open-minded enough to anything, that’s fine too, really! But if you have any criteria you may see if there is something that you are especially interested in learning at the host’s farm. Mention that in your application, see if it’s possible to do while you are interested in staying at the host in question. Avoid writing one long application and then copy-paste it to all the hosts you are interested in. This is not inspiring or a good start, it’s allowed, I see many people do it but it’s better to start short and then see if the host is open for a call when you ask more questions. The host can read about you in your profile once you have initiated a conversation.
a. Where will I be sleeping and what will we be eating during my stay?
Living in someone else’s home, these are two of the most important questions to ask. Some WWOOFers will be happy with a tent and a sleeping mat – others will not. Some WWOOFers will be happy to eat mostly anything the host puts in front of them – others have strict dietary restrictions. Know what you need in terms of meals and accommodations and make sure that the host can provide it.
b. What does communication look like between you and your WWOOFers?
Communication isn’t the be-all and end-all of happy living – but it is very important. There is a lot of adjusting that happens when you arrive on a WWOOF farm – free-flowing communication makes those adjustments so much easier. That could look like gentle host feedback, regular check-ins, or weekly meetings.
c. What is the social life like on the farm?
WWOOF hosts vary widely when it comes to the type of social environment present on their farm. Some farms are bustling centers, with people coming and going, and lots of fun activities once the chores are done. Others are much more quiet and tranquil.
d. How flexible is the work schedule?
There is so much variety among WWOOF hosts in Sweden, and that goes for their work schedules too. Some farms like to keep it free and easy, while others will start and end at more or less the same time every day. Know what works for you and make sure that matches with your farm.
e. What will I be learning During My Stay? (And are interested in learning from me?)
One of the best feelings is leaving a WWOOF exchange your head bursting with new and inspiring knowledge. But an even better feeling is when you make a lasting impact on the farm by sharing some of your own expertise with your host.
3. What to look out for when writing the applications? See if the host is already fully booked during the time that you are interested in. See if there is a blocker for you in the host’s presentation. Let’s say that it says in the presentation that they slaughter their own animals on their farm and it may be a big no-no for you who is a vegan and a believer in something else. Another criterion that you can use a filter for is if you travel with your kids you may tick that box and only see hosts who are happy to receive kids to the farm. Some hosts are part of the WWOOF community just to give their own kids someone to practice English with or have someone to play with etc.
If this doesn’t give answers to your questions please contact us at wwoof.se