If you have questions about Living Forest Farm or our programs, please read the following frequently asked questions to see if your questions are answered here. If not, please use our contact form to drop us a line or email us at email@example.com.
- What is WWOOF?
- What are the aims of WWOOF?
- Do WWOOFers get paid?
- Can WWOOFing be considered as a “job”?
- Can WWOOFing be considered as a “holiday”?
- Is there an age limit for volunteers?
- What does a WWOOFer do?
- Is WWOOFing for me?
- When do you accept volunteers?
- How long can I stay at the farm?
- If I am not a French citizen, will I need to apply for a tourist visa to WWOOF in France?
- What identity documents do I need to show upon arrival at Living Forest Farm?
- Where will we stay?
- What will we do?
- How many hours will I be required to work?
- What will we eat?
- I can’t eat food cooked in a microwave. Do you use a microwave?
- What can I do on my days off?
- How far is your farm from the nearest village or town?
- How do I get around?
- What about smoking and drinking?
- Can I access the internet?
- What do I need to bring?
- How many people are in the family?
- What languages do the hosts speak?
- Are you a religious community?
- Do I need insurance?
- Can I travel with my pet?
- How far in advance should I organize my stay?
- Where/How Do I Start?
- How do I arrange my stay? What is the next step?
- How do I get there?
- What happens if I set a date to start WWOOFing at the farm and then find that I cannot make it?
- I have a question that isn’t on this list!
WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It is a world-wide network of organizations that brings together hosts and volunteers (WWOOFers) helping each other to make a healthier world. In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. It is a non-monetary exchange and is generally based on 4 – 5 hours of help per day, 6 days per week.
WWOOF began in the UK in the 1971. Each country has its own independent organization based on the WWOOF guidelines. WWOOF organizations publish lists of organic farms, smallholdings and gardeners that welcome volunteer help at certain times. Volunteer helpers choose the hosts that most interest them and make direct contact to arrange a stay. Volunteers usually live as part of the family and join in with the various gardening projects that hosts are working on.
2. What are the aims of WWOOF?
- To enable people to learn first-hand organic growing techniques.
- To enable town-dwellers to experience living and working on a farm.
- To show alternative ways of life.
- To improve communication within the organic movement.
- To help develop confidence in becoming self-sufficient.
- To meet interesting people and make useful contacts.
Wwoofing is voluntary. Hosts do not charge the WWOOFer for their stay and WWOOFers do not get paid for their work. WWOOF is about educational and cultural exchange. WWOOFers help out hosts on their organic property and in exchange for their help they are fed 3 meals and provided with accommodation. The idea is that WWOOFers help hosts get the jobs done on their organic property while WWOOFers are given the opportunity to learn about organics.
4. Can WWOOFing be considered as a “job”?
No, WWOOFing is an exchange, an act of solidarity, a commitment to discover. There is no obligation of profitability, no relationship of subordination or hierarchy. You are not remunerated. You are there to discover, to learn, and to participate in the activities of someone who wishes to share with you another way of life.
5. Can WWOOFing be considered as a “holiday”?
Yes and no. What “vacation” means is relative and personal. The answer is no if one regards vacation as meaning rest, at least all day. The idea is to participate meaningfully in the activities of your host. The answer is yes in the sense that you have chosen a vacation of solidarity, a “green” and useful vacation. If this is only rarely idleness, the change of scene, wealth of discoveries, good humour, simplicity, candour – these all combine to create a palpable new reality.
6. Is there an age limit for volunteers?
WWOOFing can be practiced by anyone provided they are of age (18 years or more under current legislation in the country of residence of the participant), without a maximum age limit. Note: Until April 2010, it was possible to join at 16 years by providing a mandatory parental consent. This is no longer possible today. And even within a family WWOOFing (that is, accompanied only by his legal representatives) a minor cannot participate in activities.
7. What does a WWOOFer do?
WWOOFers give their time and energy to help on the farm. If you are interested in environmentally sound living, want to have hands on learning about organic gardening, permaculture, composting, building with natural materials, sustainable energy, etc., while living in the local community, then volunteering the WWOOFing might be for you!
WWOOF provides the opportunity for you to live and experience life on organic properties. You learn organic farming methods by helping on the farm and having ‘hands-on’ experience. Usually you live in with the family and are expected to join in and cooperate with the day to day activities. The success of WWOOF depends on mutual cooperation.
8. Is WWOOFing for me?
WWOOFers need a genuine interest in learning about organic growing, country living or ecologically sound lifestyles. You need to be willing to help their hosts with daily tasks for an agreed number of hours.
- Are you interested in learning about sustainable and organic methods of living?
- Are you enthusiastic and motivated when it comes to learning about and working on projects that are environmentally friendly/sustainable?
- Are you willing to work outdoors on tasks that may be difficult and physically demanding?
- Are you happy to do what may be mundane work such as weeding, fencing?
- Are you a respectful and courteous guest in the homes of others?
- Are you willing and able to fit in with lifestyles that may be very different to what you are used to?
- Do you want to experience green lifestyles, meet and live with families and share in daily chores such as cooking and cleaning?
We require a minimum commitment of 14 days (excluding arrival/departure days). If all goes well, it is possible to stay for several months at a time (and possibly longer)!
11. If I am not a French citizen, will I need to apply for a tourist visa to WWOOF in France?
Visa are specific to each country. In most cases, a visa is not required; however, it depends on your country of citizenship. U.S. and Canadian citizens planning to travel to France for short visits of 90 days or less DO NOT need visas to enter France. A valid passport is sufficient. Exceptions exist for: Citizens of one of EU/EEA countries (i.e. all 25 European Union member countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway) do not need a visa for France.
Non-EU/EEA citizens will REQUIRE a visa to enter France, unless there exists a special agreement between France and your home country. These include: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, United States, Uruguay, Vatican and Venezuela. Citizens of these countries can stay for up to 3 months without a visa.
We have a caravan close to the house (for 1 or 2 guests). WWOOFers may also camp in their own tents or camper vehicles. There are soon to be eco composting toilets in the caravan/camping area complete with solar shower. Otherwise, there are bathrooms located in the main house with full bath and shower.
14. What will we do?
WWOOFers are required to work 4 – 5 hours of work per day, 6 days per week and in return, they receive training, plus food and accommodation. Volunteers have the option of working 3 hrs per day and offering their host 35 € per day to cover the cost of food and utilities.
16. What will we eat?
Living Forest Farm is renowned for its delicious meals. We provide food and vegetarian meals for you 7 days per week. Meals, other than breakfast, are taken together in the house. Breakfast is self-serve. We offer a selection of freshly milled whole grain cereals, fresh eggs, artisanal breads, teas and fruits – all organic! Lunch and dinner generally include whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, etc.) with a savoury vegetable dish and perfectly spiced dahl or other bean/legume dish, as well as salad – most of which is freshly picked from the garden.
17. I can’t eat food cooked in a microwave. Do you use a microwave?
No. We are very health conscious and wouldn’t dream of denaturing our wholesome food with radiation in a microwave! We are also EMF conscious and strive to reduce electromagnetic radiation in and around our home.
18. What can I do on my days off?
The property is less than 5 km from the village (St. Léon sur Vézère), 6km away from Plazac and 15 km from the town of Montignac, which avoids the isolation that some may feel in remote places. Many WWOOFers bike or car-share to town, explore local shops, chateaux, and gardens, or visit the famous historical sites in the area. The Vézère Valley, sometimes called the cradle of humankind due its many traces of prehistoric and early settlements, contains 147 prehistoric sites and 25 painted caves, including the famous Lascaux caves. Canoeing is also a possibility. Check out TripAdvisor for a list of over 50 things to do in Dordogne.
Due to the farm’s protected location, there is a wide variety of wildlife and diverse plant species in close proximity, and hiking trails run through the property and throughout the region. We are regularly visited by deer and other gentle creatures.
19. How far is your farm from the nearest village or town?
We are 3km from the tiny village of Le Moustier (bakery, restaurant, and store) and about 6km from Plazac, where you can find the Milles Feuilles health food coop, a little post office, and a pharmacy. We are 14km away from the Montignac, a lovely old town that offers all of the essential services, such as a super-market, pharmacy, post office, and bank, as well as restaurants and tourist shops.
We also have a page that explains how to get to Living Forest Farm with map links and detailed directions.
20. How do I get around?
We can arrange for someone to pick you up and drop you off at the train station if needed.
The farm site, including the house and caravan, is a smoke-free zone. We believe that striving for a clean, healthy planet begins with how we treat our own bodies as well as our immediate environment. Drinking (i.e. wine and beer), is acceptable within reasonable limitations.
22. Can I access the internet?
As we strive to create a low EMF environment to preserve our health, as well as that of bees and hundreds of others beings that are sensitive to this kind of radiation, we have voted against having a Wi-Fi connection. If you are traveling with a laptop, you will be able to connect to the internet in the kitchen or living room of the main house through ethernet outlets.
Having said that, we have found that one of the benefits of being on the farm comes from the “unplugging effect” – having time away from the constant stimulation of media and technology. We encourage you to fully experience life on the farm by limiting time spent on the computer and letting people know that you might be off the grid for a while.
23. What do I need to bring?
This is one of the most common questions.
The essentials: Clothing for heat/cold, humidity, rain, swimming, sweaty work. Rain gear. Sturdy shoes for the field/forest. They will get muddy. Some kind of waterproof footwear for early morning work when the grass is very wet. Slippers or indoor shoes/flip-flops for the house (we have hard tile floors). Sandals. Hats! Natural insect repellent (please avoid DEET and other carcinogenic ingredients; essential oil repellents work well). Gardening gloves are a must. A water bottle.
The non-essentials: Books, instruments, portable electronics. We have an extensive library (books, movies, documentaries). Although we don’t we don’t have a lot of time to lounge in front of the TV, we enjoy watching films and documentaries from time to time. We also have a communal guitar and a large music collection. We share a lot of our digital resources with our guests and students and suggest that you bring an external hard drive with lots of storage space (i.e. 500 GB).
You may bring a sleeping bag and blankets, but if you are travelling light we can provide sheets and blankets. The caravan has a built in double bed and a closet with shelves.
24. How many people are in the family?
Our family consists of Kali and John (your hosts), as well as Juniper and Hazel (our Indian Runner ducks), Mini and Pattapouf (our kitties) and our motley crew of rescued hens.
25. What languages do the hosts speak?
Kali is originally from Canada and her native language is English, but also speaks French fluently. John is of British origin. He has lived in France for many years and is also fluent in French. Many of the locals speak at least basic English, though some members in the community only speak French. Please let us know your language preference. English speakers wishing to improve their knowledge of French can simply let us know and we will speak French with you.
26. Are you a religious community?
One of our core values is honouring diversity. We respect and welcome people from all walks of life and spiritual/religious traditions. There are several Buddhist centers in the area and many members of the community study Buddhist philosophy, including ourselves. However, we keep our personal beliefs private unless volunteers on the farm are interested in learning about Buddhism or meditation practice.
27. Do I need insurance?
Living Forest Farm strongly recommends purchasing accident and health insurance covering you in France and wherever else you will be travelling for the entire duration of your stay. We cannot be responsible for covering expenses in the event of injury, accident or illness.
28. Can I travel with my pet?
As we have a few aging domestic animals who do not take well to change, it can be stressful for them when you throw a strange, new animal into the mix. For those reasons, we strongly discourage bringing your pet with you. Please include your request in the application form (in the comments/questions section) to check with us first.
That varies a lot according to the season and schedule, but if you arrange your visit at least three to four months in advance, you are more likely to secure your preferred dates.
30. Where/How Do I Start?
First, go to the WWOOF.fr website and sign up. To WWOOF in France, you are required to become member of the WWOOF France association. The cost is 15 € for a one year membership. They will email or ship a book to you called “The Directory of Farms” and here you can find all the WWOOF farms in your area or areas you would like to travel to. You can also check out WWOOF farms on the internet on their site.
31. How do I arrange my stay? What is the next step?
To apply to volunteer or WWOOF at Living Forest Farm, please make sure you have read and understood our welcome letter. This is our basic information and conduct guide for all visitors, and includes a simple liability waiver. You will be asked to sign a copy upon your arrival. The next step is to fill out our volunteer application form. We will get back to you once your application has been reviewed! If the application is accepted, we will also contact you by phone to discuss details and duration of your stay.
There is a page on our site dedicated to helping you find the most convenient route to the farm – whether it be by road, train or plane. Please see the ‘How to get there‘ section for complete directions and time-saving links to travel resources (train reservations, local airports, etc).
33. What happens if I set a date to start WWOOFing at the farm and then find that I cannot make it?
Please contact us immediately to let us know. If you fail to turn up, we will be concerned for your welfare! We will also need to notify other potential candidates.
34. I have a question that isn’t on this list!
Send us your question, and we’ll add it to this list and respond to you as soon as we can.