What’s new at WWOOF UK – Winter solstice ’23

Dec 21, 2023

Every January the Oxford Real Farming Conference brings together farmers, growers, activists, policymakers and researchers from around the world for a gathering of the real food movement. The main activities are the workshops and sessions which are recorded and shared on the ORFC YouTube channel after the event and there is now an online event running in tandem with the in-person event in Oxford.

​We have a space ​in the Online Exhibit Hall at the conference. This is a place where organisations and businesses with connections to the real food and farming movement​ display their activities and programmes, products and services, strengthening the network of the wider agroecological farming community.

Here is a link to the Exhibition Hall.

The dates of this year’s conference are January 4th-5th and you can buy tickets here.

For WWOOFers you wish to welcome to your farm, you can now officially Accept and have the WWOOFers Confirm their Visit Request. For WWOOFer requests that are not a good fit, you can now officially Decline their Visit Requests. You can now always keep the dates of the Visit Request up to date as plans change.

Using the Visit Request system means:  

1. They lead to reviews: Confirmed visit requests lead to reviews on your account, which attracts more WWOOFers. No Confirmed Visit Request means no Reviews. WWOOFers prefer to read reviews from other WWOOFers.

2. Calendar is updated with confirmed requests:  Confirmed visit requests are automatically added to your calendar, which shows potential WWOOFers when you have other visitors on your farm. This also helps ensure you won’t receive unnecessary inquiries when you are unavailable.

3. Validity of liability insurance: Many WWOOFers are covered by WWOOF’s liability and personal accident insurance. This protects farmers too as it covers damage to property on the farm.  However, this coverage is only valid when WWOOFers and hosts have an Accepted and Confirmed visit request.

4. Certainty for you and the WWOOFer: When you Accept a WWOOFer’s request and they Confirm it, you both can begin making plans and other preparations. When you decline their request, they can switch their focus to other WWOOFing opportunities.  

5. Safety: Do not immediately share personal contact information. Instead, using the WWOOF Inbox, start a conversation with the inquiring WWOOFer to identify their expectations and share yours. See the sample questions below. Once you feel confident that you would like to invite this WWOOFer to your farm, we recommend doing a phone or video call to confirm your compatibility. At this point, keep the rest of your personal contact information private. Only then should you Accept the WWOOFer on the Visit Request system and have them Confirm the Request. It’s at this point that you can share your other personal information, such as your address.

6. A record of the visit: It provides a record that the Visit has happened, which helps the WWOOF UK team to resolve any issues should they come up.

Sample questions:

● Do you have a Visa to visit the UK? Please have a look at the Visa requirements for WWOOFing in the UK.
● Do you have health and liability insurance?
● Do you have any dietary restrictions?
● Do you have any allergies?
● Do you have any other health concerns?
● What made you choose me as a host?
● What farming /smallholding practices are you most enthusiastic to learn about, and why?
● Any other things you are enthusiastic about doing or learning while WWOOFing here?
● What are your interests, aptitudes, or skills that make you a good fit for my farm?
● What made you choose to go WWOOFing? (and not just backpacking or couchsurfing?)
● Can you provide a reference? Where have you WWOOFed before?
● What did you enjoy most about the farms where you WWOOFed in the past? What did you dislike the most?
● Tasks you cannot or will not perform for whatever reason. Please list and explain.
● Anything else you would like us to know about you?

How to Accept & Decline Visit Requests

  1. Click on the link in the email notification you were sent OR on the website, click on the envelope symbol in the top right of the screen (near your profile photo)
  2. This will bring your WWOOF Inbox
  3. Click on the WWOOFer’s name on the left-hand side
  4. This will bring you to the message thread between you and the WWOOFer
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the page where you will be prompted to either Accept or Decline the Visit Request
  6. Click “Accept” or “Decline”
  7. A pop-up with a text box will appear
  8. In this box, add a message to the WWOOFer
  9. Click “Accept” or “Decline”

When To Accept a WWOOFer’s Visit Request

You should only Accept a Visit Request from a WWOOFer once you have sent them a number of messages/questions and ideally have done a phone or video call. You can keep the status set as “pending” until you have decided whether the WWOOFer is a good fit for you and your home. Once you have made a decision, you can officially “Accept” or “decline” their Request.

Wait for Confirmation

Even after Accepting a request, you should wait for the WWOOFer to confirm before making plans for their arrival.  If the WWOOFer has not Confirmed the Visit Request, you can ask them to do so, advising them you cannot reserve a space for them until you receive the confirmation. WWOOFers often inquire with many hosts at the same time and may have been Accepted elsewhere. You can’t assume a WWOOFer is coming until you have received a Confirmed request. And as their arrival date draws near, check in regularly with the WWOOFer to ensure their plans haven’t changed.

Cancel a Visit if your plans change

If your plans change for any reason, cancel the visit request with a message explaining why.  Ensure that you let the WWOOFer know as soon as possible, so that they have enough time to make alternate plans.

How to change the dates of a Visit Request

Your Inbox is where you can manage all of your visit requests in one place.

Change Visit Dates or Archive Messages

While viewing a message thread between you and a WWOOFer, you can navigate to the WWOOFer’s profile by clicking on their name at the top of the thread.  You can change dates of a Visit Request or archive it by clicking on the button with the three vertical dots to the right of the WWOOFer’s name.  We recommend archiving inactive messages to make your inbox  easier to manage.

We’ve created a page where you and your friends can sign-up to receive our newsletters as a way keep in touch with us. Those with an active membership will receive our newsletters automatically but we also produce a non-members’ edition to help those thinking about joining and for staying in touch even when your membership has expired.

Share this link to sign-up to our newsletter.

And last but not least….

We’d love to hear your stories, your events, your news! Help us to make our newsletter as colourful, relevant and engaging as possible. You can send your valuable contributions to: editor@wwoof.org.uk Also, as you know, social media is a great way to help promote WWOOFing and show the world what we do – if you have the time to take some photos (or videos) and share them on your socials please use #wwoofuk and/or @wwoofuk

Many thanks for being part of the vibrant and buzzing WWOOF community in the UK.

Opportunity: Start your own small dairy

Opportunity: Start your own small dairy

Start your own biodynamic small dairy on the Inner Hebrides with help setting-up from wonderful WWOOF hosts. We have created a biodynamic farm on the inner Hebridean Island of Lismore, 38 acres. We have been here 13 years now and our cattle are ready to move up a...

New beginnings: first time WWOOFing in Wales

New beginnings: first time WWOOFing in Wales

By Joel Rouse WWOOFing in Pembrokeshire was like being in another world despite being only 235 miles from where I live and work as a photographer and part-time travel blogger. London is home, and I work on Whitehall - one of London's tourist hotspots, topped and...

Growing Roots in the Local Organic Farming Scene

Growing Roots in the Local Organic Farming Scene

By Aurora Moxon Hello, I’m Aurora, a thirty-two-year-old who is happiest in a pair of muddy wellies harvesting apples for scrumpy making, sowing veg for the year ahead and learning hands-on how to make cheese. If my hands aren’t covered in soil, scrumpy or curds, then...