Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long will it take until I get my directory and online password? 
  2. Once I become a member, how does my online experience change?
  3. My annual membership is still active but I don't have the most recent directory. How can I get the additional host information?
  4. I am a member with online directory access, but now I want to receive the printed Host Farm Directory as well- How do I do that?
  5. How do I become a member? 
  6. How do I become a host?
  7. What forms of payment do you accept for people signing up internationally?
  8. Does WWOOF-USA also include Hawaii?
  9. Will WWOOF help me get a visa or work permit?
  10. Do you offer workers' compensation or any other insurance? 
  11. How long will it take to find a host?
  12. Are WWOOF hosts and WWOOFing volunteers pre-screened for my safety?
  13. Once I am a member of a WWOOF organization, can I use the membership all over the world?
  14. I'm not 18 years old.  Can I still WWOOF?
  15. What do I need to go WWOOFing?
  16. What do hosts expect from a WWOOFer?
  17. What should a WWOOFer expect from a host?
  18. Can I bring my children with me?
  19. Is there a discounted membership for a couple WWOOFing together?
  20. How many hours a day am I expected to work?
  21. Do I need to be able to speak English?
  22. Can I stop by your office in person and pick up a directory?
  23. Can I see a sample WWOOF-USA directory?
  24. What if I feel a comment made on my profile is inappropriate?
  25. What is WWOOF’s policy on sex offenders and /or convicted felons? 

  26. How do I protect myself from unsafe situations with strangers?
  27. I would like to make a complaint about a host farm or WWOOFer. How does this process work?
  28. What is your policy for farms or WWOOFers that have negative reviews?
  29. I've sent out several emails and haven't heard back from any hosts. Why?

1. How long will it take until I get my directory and online password?

If you become a member online, you will create a user name and password and have instant access to the Online Directory.  If you request to receive a Printed Directory and you live in the continental US, it takes approximately 7-10 business days. Outside the continental US and Canada takes approximately 10-15 business days. 

2. Once I become a member, how does my online experience change?

Once you are logged in as a WWOOF-USA user, you have access to advanced search functions for key words, along with complete farm profiles including full contact details, comments from previous WWOOFers, and ratings about their experience on that particular farm. In addition, we have online Forums for the WWOOF community to share information and conversations - a great place to expand your knowledge about WWOOFing. Registered hosts can additionally access profiles of WWOOFers- and read previous farms' comments and ratings of that particular WWOOFer.

Please be advised that membership is valid for one year from the day it is purchased. You have the option to renew your membership annually if you'd like to. 

3. My annual membership is still active but I don't have the most recent directory. How can I get the additional host information?

We update the directory online every day. Please log in to see the new host farms. If you do not have your original log in and password, click the link at login that says "Forgot Your Password? Click here to recover it." 

4. I am a member with online directory access, but now I want to receive the printed Host Farm Directory as well- How do I do that?

To receive the printed directory after you are already a member, send a $10 check or money order to our address, with a note that includes your full name and User Name and the address you would like to receive it at.  We'll get in the mail to you!

5. How do I become a member?

Join online or complete and send us your application form and payment. All members have online access and you can opt to receive the Printed Directory.  Contact the hosts you want to visit to make plans, and go WWOOF! Membership is valid for one year from the day it is purchased.

6. How do I become a host?

Click here to sign up as a host.  Include the following information in paragraph format: Description of surrounding area and farm, description of activities (crops, projects, goals, etc.), suggested length of stay for WWOOFers, non-agricultural activities (alternative construction, restoration projects, green energy, etc.), expectations of WWOOFers, when WWOOFers are needed, accommodations (number and type), transportation options, languages spoken, willingness to accept children/ pets, meals and special diets, nearby area sights and fun things to do, and any other farm or area specifics. We ask for a $5 to $50 fee to cover the administrative costs of creating, producing, maintaining, and delivering an accurate and up to date directory for both WWOOFers and hosts.

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7. What forms of payment do you accept for people signing up internationally?

You can join online and use a credit card, or you can mail us an international money order in US dollars.

8. Does WWOOF-USA® also include Hawaii? 

Yes, when you join WWOOF-USA®, you gain access to all US hosts, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. WWOOF-USA® provides a printed directory of more than 1,700 hosts in the US, with more than 60 in Hawaii. 

9. Will WWOOF help me get a visa or work permit?

WWOOF-USA® cannot help to obtain a visa. You are responsible for your travel and/or student visa. The United States Embassy grants temporary visas to those individuals who want to enter the United States. Applying for a visa should be done as soon as possible as it can take several months depending on the embassy in your country. It may benefit you to first secure your visitor visa, and then join WWOOF-USA. Please keep in mind that WWOOF is NOT paid work or volunteering. WWOOF members are guests of hosts. Most WWOOFers enter the USA under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) through the online ESTA system or on B-2 visitors visa. NEITHER OF THESE PROGRAMS ALLOW PERSONS HOLDING FOREIGN PASSPORTS TO WORK, VOLUNTEER OR EXCHANGE TIME OR LABOR FOR ANYTHING. The United States has extremely strict labor and immigration laws that prohibit foreign nationals from "working" or "volunteering" in the country without a valid work authorization and visa. Members from outside the United States utilizing the WWOOF-USA network are encouraged to avoid misunderstandings with immigration officials by explaining that you will be visiting a variety of places in the USA to learn more about the United States and its various sustainability movements. Foreign WWOOFers who have wrongly explained that they will be "volunteering" or "working on farms" have been denied visas, been denied entry and deported from the United States. If you are traveling from another country, please be aware of this important distinction: you are a VISITOR, not a WORKER or VOLUNTEER.

10. Do you offer workers' compensation or any other insurance?

No, we do not offer workers' compensation or any other type of insurance. We are not experts on workers' compensation or insurance, so we can't give you advice. Most hosts have some types of coverage in their homeowner's policy. When you sign up for WWOOF-USA®, you assume responsibility for any risks. If you are a WWOOFer we encourage you to get traveler, medical, or other adequate insurance.

11. How long will it take to find a host?

You are seeking an agreeable arrangement with a wonderful host, and this may take some time.  In an interest to find a good match, we recommend having lots of clear and open conversation with potential hosts.  Discuss hopes and expectations, and use the online forums to ask other WWOOFers for recommendations. 

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12. Are WWOOF hosts and WWOOFers pre-screened for my safety?

No, we are not able to screen every host or WWOOFer.  It is up to you to find a suitable host or WWOOFer, and to use the online comments, ratings, and forums to share your experiences.  If there is a problem with a profile not being accurate or up to date, please encourage the host or member to modify their profile.  If you think a host or member is not appropriate for WWOOF, please let us know.  We rely on member and host feedback to know what is going on out there on the farms. Please read question #25 for more information on screening and background checks.

13. Once I am a member of a WWOOF organization, can I use the membership all over the world?

No, all WWOOF organizations are independent and you need to join each one separately. The membership fees are small and cover the cost of running each service.

14. I'm not 18 years old.  Can I still WWOOF?

Not alone. Anyone under the age of 18 must travel with a parent or legal guardian who is over 18 years of age.

15. What do I need to go WWOOFing?

  • A great attitude, flexibility, and a sense of adventure  
  • Travel or medical insurance (encouraged)
  • Transportation to and from the farm, unless otherwise arranged with host prior to visit
  • Travel funds to and from the host farm
  • Appropriate attire - boots, farming clothes, sun protection, hat, etc.  Ask your host about any other suggestions.
  • Identification such as passport or license 
  • A willingness to participate and learn from hosts about organic agriculture 

16. What do hosts expect from a WWOOFer?

The most important quality for a WWOOFer is to be able to fit into the different lifestyles of hosts while helping out. You are expected to be interested in what they do, help out for the agreed upon hours per day, assist with the living chores (such as cooking and washing up) and not create more work for your host. Hosts are all very hardworking people mainly living on a tight budget, and you should accept and respect this. WWOOFing is not just a cheap holiday and way to travel- it involves a commitment to supporting sustainable agriculture at it's roots. It is a voluntary organization set up to teach people about the organic movement, to give them hands-on experience and to help out organic producers as organic production is very labor intensive. If you are solely looking for a cheap way to see the USA, WWOOF is not for you. Always respect the dates you arrange with your host.  If you have to change plans for any reason you must give your host ample notice so that they can make other arrangements. Please don't just not turn up. This can cause major problems for your host (who has probably turned down other people as they were expecting you to come). Please be responsible and thoughtful and take your responsibilities seriously. If your stay is not working out for your host, they can ask you to leave, although with good communication between host and WWOOFer this is unlikely.

17. What should a WWOOFer expect from a host?

A host should offer you basic accommodation and food.  You should be clear about exactly what accommodations are available as this varies greatly from farm to farm. Some may have a separate lodging for WWOOFers, others may ask you bring your own tent. You may well need to take a sleeping bag. Most have a room for WWOOFers. If you have special dietary requirements (i.e. vegetarian, vegan, etc.) or specific allergies (i.e. to animals or weeds) you should check with your host that this is alright before you go. The host should work with you at times and be willing to teach you about organic farming. It is very likely that you will have to work on your own a fair amount of the time. Many of the tasks may be mundane, but a lot of agriculture work is. Once again, check with your host about what jobs you will be doing. If for some reason the situation is not working for you, discuss it with your hosts and if a solution cannot be reached you are under no obligation to stay. Any feedback to us would be appreciated.

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18. Can I bring my children with me?

Sometimes. A lot of the farms like to welcome children, especially if they have children themselves. Always check with the host first, and if you have young children who need a lot of your attention discuss them with your host. Farms can be dangerous places, and accommodation can be limited- parents should be willing to take total responsibility for the safety of their children.

19. Is there a discounted membership for a couple WWOOFing together?

No, we do not offer a membership for two.  We are a non-profit, and our main source of income is from membership revenue.  We ask that each individual sign up for their own membership, so we can continue to provide excellent service in creating, producing, maintaining and delivering our Host Farm Directory.

20. How many hours a day am I expected to participate on the farm?

The hours depend a great deal on the work needing to be done. We say that you should spend half a day, or 4 - 6 hours,  5 and 1/2 days a week, but this needs to be flexible. During a harvest, for example, when a crop needs to be collected you may end up helping out for much longer hours, but you should be given extra days off at the end to make up for this. Once again, good communication with your host before and at the beginning of your stay can prevent many misunderstandings.

21. Do I need to be able to speak English?

Many of the hosts speak languages other than English, and the directory states clearly which languages they speak. Do not go to a farm where they speak only English if you can't speak it; this only leads to misunderstandings and confusion. If you wish to learn English choose a farm where they speak some of the language you speak and ask them if they could speak English to you- many of our hosts appreciate the cultural exchange of learning a new language from WWOOFers.

22. Can I stop by your office in person and pick up a directory?

Yes, you can come in and visit us at our office in San Francisco.  Call ahead, we'll be glad to have you.

23. Can I see a sample WWOOF-USA directory?

You can preview the WWOOF-USA® Directory of Host Farms on this website.  By clicking the "Farms" tab on the homepage, you are shown the entire up-to-date directory, minus the contact information. The host contact information appears once you are a member and login. If you decide you would like to participate in the WWOOF program, sign up for a membership. Your online account will be created instantly, and we will send you the directory in the mail if requested.

24. What if I feel a comment made on my profile is inappropriate?

WWOOF-USA's policy is to review any posted comments that may be inappropriate on our website. Once we are notified of a potentially inappropriate comment, we ask for further explanation from both sides, and suspend the comment for review. The Comment Review Board is composed of one impartial WWOOFer, one impartial host, and one member of our Board of Directors. These three parties will examine the original comment and response, and make a decision regarding the posting of the comment on the profile. If the Review Board does not approve the comment, the commenter is welcome to repost a revised comment at any time after the original has been removed from the profile. Further, we have a "three strikes you are out" policy regarding negative comments. If a farm or WWOOFer receives three negative comments based on separate individual cases it is our policy that they will be removed from the WWOOF-USA organization.

25. What is WWOOF’s policy on sex offenders and /or convicted felons?

WWOOF-USA does not knowingly allow sex offenders or convicted felons to participate in the WWOOF program, unless they apply to us prior to application. If we receive notification that a member is in violation of this policy, we reserve the right to revoke membership of any offenders immediately. 

If a potential member feels that their circumstances warrant further consideration, we request they provide a written explanation to: info@wwoofusa.org. This information will be reviewed by a committee with regard to the safety of our members. Failure to provide further explanation, falsification, or omission of data will result in denial of or revocation of membership. 

26.  How do I protect myself from unsafe situations with strangers?

WWOOF-USA is a small organization, and unable to screen host and volunteer applications. You are strongly encouraged to do your own background and reference checks prior to entering into any situation with strangers. There are many resources (some are free) on the internet to help investigate strangers.  For example the following sites are free websites where you can check the criminal status of a volunteer or host before meeting: http://www.homefacts.com/offenders.html or http://nsopw.gov.  As with all WWOOF arrangements, be sure to have clear and open communication between all parties before finalizing arrangements.  WWOOFing is an amazing opportunity to make new friends, but please take safety issues seriously and contact us immediately if you have any safety issues. 

27. I would like to make a complaint about a host farm or WWOOFer. How does this process work?

You may file a complaint directly via email, telephone or through the comments section of the website.  If we receive a complaint via email, we will follow up with you and ask for your response in writing.  If you feel a comment is inaccurate online, please let us know.  If we are notified of a potentially inaccurate comment, we ask for further explanation in writing from both sides, and suspend the comment for review by the Comment Review Board. The Comment Review Board is composed of one WWOOFer, one host, and one member of our board of directors.  These three parties will examine the original comment and response, and make a decision regarding the posting of the comment on the profile.  If the Review Board does not approve the comment, the commenter is welcome to repost a revised comment at any time after the original has been removed from the profile.

28. What is your policy for farms or WWOOFers that have negative reviews?

Three-Strikes Policy: WWOOF operates largely on the honor system with members trusting one another to be respectful and to fulfill the mission of WWOOF.  Because of this, we rely strongly on feedback from hosts and WWOOFers about their experiences through WWOOF, and takes complaints seriously.

We have a “three strikes you are out” policy regarding negative comments.  If a farm or WWOOFer receives three negative comments based on separate individual cases, it is our policy that they will be removed from the WWOOF-USA organization.

Zero Tolerance Policy

If we receive a complaint regarding any sort of verbal or physical abuse, assault, sexual or other harassment, or any other form of threat to health and safety, we reserve the right to immediately suspend membership pending review and possibly permanently revoke membership.

Anti-Discrimination Policy

WWOOF-USA does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include membership application and provision of member (host or WWOOFer) profiles. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of WWOOF-USA, and require all hosts and WWOOFers to abide by this policy.  Any reports of discrimination will be investigated by WWOOF-USA, and may be cause for membership being revoked.

Anti-Harassment Policy

Harassment based upon an individual's sex, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion or any other legally protected characteristics will not be tolerated by WWOOF-USA. All members, including hosts and WWOOFers, are expected and required to abide by this policy. Any reports of harassment between a host and WWOOFer will be investigated by WWOOF-USA, and may be cause for membership being revoked. 

Additionally, we do not knowingly allow sexual offenders or convicted felons to be members of WWOOF-USA.  If we receive notification that a member is in violation of this policy, we reserve the right to immediately revoke membership.

29. I've sent out several emails and haven't heard back from any hosts. Why?

Make sure that your initial email or phone call to your desired host farmer is personal and considerate, showing that you read over their farm profile carefully. Include personal details about yourself, why you are WWOOFing, and why you chose to contact that particular host in this initial communication. We strongly discourage sending mass or generic emails to hosts, as the host will likely recognize this as impersonal, and may choose not to respond.

Hosts check member profiles and are more likely to respond to those who have detailed and complete profile pages. Please make sure to complete your membership profile and check back frequently to make sure it is accurate and up-to-date, and ask hosts you have met to leave comments and feedback on your profile. 

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