COVID-19 : wwoofing possible while respecting the preventive measures

  • You are involved in some form of organic agriculture for your own and your family’s consumption or for sale to the wider community...
  • You promote sustainable living practices, for example by using renewable energies, eco-construction techniques…
  • Occasionally you need an extra pair of hands to help you with your projects...
  • You’re eager to pass on your knowledge to interested people the world over…

... YES !... then become a Whost !

Before deciding to register as a Whost in Belgium please read the following practical guidelines and code of conduct.

To welcome volunteers who are genuinely interested in learning about organic agriculture and sustainable living practices

The people you welcome are offering you their time and help as they are interested in learning about your activities and lifestyle. WWOOF Belgium strongly advises people to only become a WWOOFer and propose help to Whosts if they are deeply interested in organic agriculture and sustainable living practices. We encourage those who are less interested in these issues to choose other organisations.

To receive the agreed hours of help in return for your hospitality

Engaging in WWOOF involves an exchange in which the WWOOFer certifies that they will help you out a certain number of pre-agreed hours in exchange for accommodation, food and the learning opportunities that you offer. The number of hours should be reasonable - 20 to 35 hours help per 5 or 6 day week is suggested.

To choose which volunteers you will accept

You only can choose which WWOOFers you will welcome, when, and for which length of time. Furthermore you don’t need to justify your choice.

To be treated with respect at all times

The Whost - WWOOFer partnership is one based on mutual respect and trust. A WWOOFer is not subordinate to you, nor you to them. Any uncomfortable feelings should be discussed through open and honest dialogue.

To be able to complain to WWOOF Belgium if you feel these expectations have not been fulfilled

WWOOF Belgium is eager to receive your feedback regarding positive and negative experiences, as it will help us to improve our service. We hope that together we can build up a system that meets the expectations of everyone.

To negotiate with your volunteers, before they arrive, concerning the needs and expectations of both parties

As your profile is only a brief description of your activities, it is essential to reply to any question that the potential volunteer puts to you. In turn you should also ask the person any questions which you deem necessary. It should be clear to both parties what the exchange is – what type of help you need, for how many hours, and for which accommodation and food.

To provide adequate food and drink

In your profile you must mention if you can provide for vegetarian, vegan or diets including meat. It’s best for both parties that it’s clear beforehand what type of food will be on the table. You can provide the WWOOFer with a mix of food from your own produce, if you have some, or food bought from outside. It’s not necessary that you always prepare the food for the WWOOFer. It’s recommended however to share meals often as it creates a nice atmosphere.

To provide hands-on experience to WWOOFers and be willing to pass on your knowledge to them

WWOOFers should be able to participate in activities which are related to organic agriculture and sustainable living practices. This can include gardening, eco construction, taking care of animals, learning how to preserve and/or prepare food from the garden and so much more.

A WWOOFer will choose to help you because they want to learn about the activities you are engaged in and your lifestyle. Therefore it’s important that you are available and willing to share your knowledge with them.

To be sufficiently insured

WWOOF Belgium does not provide insurance cover for Whosts. Please make sure you are sufficiently covered.

To reply to all contacts from WWOOFers in a timely manner and to inform them promptly if you have to change or cancel arrangements

You should reply to all messages from WWOOFers within a week (maximum 2 weeks), even if it’s just to say « No, sorry we don’t need your help right now » . If you have accepted to welcome a WWOOFer and that for some reason you can no longer host them, then you must let them know this as soon as possible. WWOOFers often have to make many arrangements (such as asking for holidays from work, booking transport tickets etc.) and it’s very frustrating and unfair for them if they have to wait a long time for a reply or get no reply at all.

WWOOF Belgium is very serious about this point and we urge our WWOOFers to inform us if a Whost is not replying within 2 weeks or does not advise them of a change of plan in advance. All concerned Whosts will be contacted by us and if, after warning, they fail to honour this expectation then their membership to WWOOF Belgium can be terminated. We also recommend that Whosts who have to wait too long for a reply from a WWOOFer (more than 2 weeks) or get no reply at all, or are not advised if plans have changed, to contact us so that we can take the necessary actions.

To provide warm, dry, clean and safe accommodation

Accommodation can range from a tent to a private room in your house but can also be in a caravan, a yurt, dorm accommodation etc. In your profile you must mention the type of accommodation you provide. As this can vary according to the season and occupancies it’s best to clarify to the WWOOFer before they arrive what you can offer them.

To be growing organically and using ecologically sustainable methods

You can only become a Whost if you are actively and consciously engaged in organic agriculture and other sustainable living practices. If this is not the case then please refer to other organisations (for example Workaway) to get the help you need from volunteers.

To provide a safe working environment for the WWOOFer and not to request them to perform dangerous tasks or use dangerous machinery

You should limit the risk of injury to the WWOOFer and yourself to a maximum. You should never ask a WWOOFer to do a task which you would not do yourself for safety reasons. WWOOFers should not be requested to work with vehicles (tractor, combine harvestor etc.) or dangerous machinery (chainsaw etc.).

To keep an open mind when meeting people from other cultures

There may be cultural, political, religious, language and many other differences between WWOOFer and Whost. These should not undermine the partnership of trust and respect that unites them. It’s important to be conscious of cultural sensitivities.

To help avoid any uncomfortable situation for you or a WWOOFer, in your host profile you should mention if you or your family or community abide by and partake in cultural/political/religious activities or rituals. Please note that a WWOOFer should never feel like they are obliged to join you in any of these activities or rituals.

To not engage WWOOFers instead of a paid worker, and to accept that there is no financial exchange between WWOOFer and Whost

A WWOOFer should never replace a paid worker. They are helping you voluntarily and you have no status of authority over them such as in a traditional employee/employer relationship. A WWOOFer who provides you the agreed help should not have to pay for accommodation and food. You should not pay them for their help nor pay for any of their personal expenses (eg. Travel, leisure). If for some reason the WWOOFer is kept busy with their tasks for longer hours than expected you should compensate by giving them an extra day off, but not money.

So it’s decided! You wish to become a Whost! Then please follow these simple steps...

  • I certify that I am over 18 years of age (there’s no age limit).
  • I have read and accept to honour the expectations required from me as a Whost. (Charter of WWOOF Belgium)
  • I realise that my membership to WWOOF Belgium can be terminated if I don’t act in accordance with these expectations.

There is no fee to become a Whost but we welcome any donation on our Triodos account BE08 5230 8057 1713 (TRIOBEBB).

To become a Whost, please contact the WWOOF Belgium team, mentioning your name and contact details. Also write a little about your activities and your motivations to become a Whost. WWOOF Belgium will contact you to fill in your profile and to arrange a suitable time for a visit. Once this is completed you will be added to the list of Belgian Whosts, and WWOOFers the world over, who have paid their registration fee, will be able to contact you.

Before you start hosting we advise you to read the below practical tips.

We strongly advise you to discuss openly with all the people who share your home/farm (partner, children, other community members etc) before welcoming WWOOFers.

You are encouraged to ask all volunteers to give you their WWOOF Belgium membership number as of the first contact, and to show you their WWOOF Belgium membership card on arrival – you can then be sure they are registered WWOOFers.

This is in your interest as otherwise you will be contacted by non-members who disturb the WWOOF system.

Things you might want to know about a WWOOFer

  • Why did you choose our farm?
  • Do you have any special interests? What would you like to learn?
  • Which language(s) do you speak?
  • How old are you?
  • What is your profession / field of activity?
  • Have you done WWOOFing before? How long were your stays?
  • What kind of skills do you have?
  • How long would you like to stay?
  • Do you need to be picked up somewhere?
  • Do you mind to work on your own sometimes?
  • Do you have a driving licence? Which type?
  • Do you smoke?
  • What’s your usual diet?
  • Do you mind sharing a room?
  • Are you vaccinated against tetanus/encephalitis?
  • Do you have allergies or other handicaps we should be aware of?
  • What kind of insurance do you have? Health insurance? Insurance against accidents? Travel insurance?