Formally called Working Weekends on Organic Farms, WWOOF came into being in Autumn 1971, in England, when a London secretary, Sue Coppard, recognised the need to provide access to the countryside for people who lived in cities and did not otherwise have the opportunity to live in the country, but wanted to support the organic movement.
Her idea started with a trial working weekend, which she arranged for four people at the bio-dynamic farm at Emerson College in Sussex through a contact in the Soil Association. Soon many more organic farmers and smallholders were willing to take people keen to work on this basis (WWOOFers).
When the demand for longer periods occurred, the name was changed to WILLING WORKERS ON ORGANIC FARMS. Since then, in recognition of the world wide nature of the organisation and the confusion caused by the word “work”, WWOOF now stands for WORLD WIDE OPPORTUNITIES on ORGANIC FARMS.
WWOOF UK developed quickly and the organisation adapted its systems to meet the needs of WWOOFers and hosts around the world. Now there are autonomous WWOOF organisations in many countries and hosts in countries without a national group are listed by WWOOF Independents.
WWOOF is also now recognised as having an important contribution to make in the wider organic world as it brings more and more people into direct contact with permaculture organic growers both independently and through other organisations who are trying to influence policy, consumer demand and bulid a more organic self sustaining and connected world.
WWOOF is still growing and "to Wwoof" has entered languages as a word in its own right as has "to Google".
WWOOFers have given 1000’s of hours of help to organic growers and WWOOF hosts have given their time, experience and knowledge with WWOOFers and this has opened the door to a way of living that has fundamentally changed people’s lives.
All the official WWOOF websites can be found under www.wwoof.net .