Why is there a Federation of WWOOF Organisations (FoWO) and an International WWOOF Association (IWA)? What is the difference?
For more than forty years WWOOF has spread from country to country in a very organic way with each new group being independently owned and operated, yet being part of a larger network.
There was no formal organisation to represent the interests of WWOOF worldwide – or to answer the myriad of requests from journalists, potential co-ordinators, volunteer groups or other organisations ... or indeed to respond to the occasional complaint.
Instead two portal websites were created – one operated by WWOOF UK – and the other by the WWOOF International Association or WIA (a collective of several other WWOOF groups including: New Zealand, France, Japan, and Australia ). Both these sites primarily signposted people to WWOOF in their country of interest or origin. They also provided a listing service for host farms in countries where there was no national WWOOF group – otherwise known as Independents.
Whilst this system served many adequately for a long time – it has not always been effective and has certainly caused confusion for many. As the internet has expanded and global trading intensified so the pressure to resolve these issues has mounted.
In September 2011 at an international conference for WWOOF groups in Korea a resolution was passed to create a Federation – an organisation that could unite, promote, protect and support the WWOOF movement around the world. It would be a way for WWOOF groups to come together and cooperate, to share common responsibilities including the management of one combined portal website as well as managing a single (unified) Independents list.
The Federation's establishment involved more than 18 months of discussion and negotiation between parties within the WWOOF movement from across the world – and was finally incorporated in March 2013 (www.wwoof.net).
As well as the various practical functions performed by the FoWO, such as addressing trademarking issues, helping to legalize and protect the WWOOF movement, some of the main objects of this umbrella organisation are to support and promote the various existing national organisations by providing these with a previously non-existent coordinative network. Member countries are now regularly communicating between each other and sharing precious knowledge and informations for the development of this steadily growing movement.
However some countries were not satisfied with all the agreements and the speed of the procedure in the unification and pulled out of the agreement. They continue to operate their own separate organisation – the WIA - and regrettably to this day the two independent host listings have not been amalgamated. FoWO continues to communicate with the WIA and strives to reach a mutual understanding that will provide a unified worldwide WWOOF Federation.
FoWO currently has the support of over 40 members countries whilst the WIA has 6. The FoWO should therefore be considered the first port of call for general WWOOF related enquiries. Current active sites fully supported by FoWO are www.wwoof.net as well as www.wwoofindependents.org.
Mission Statement: The Federation of WWOOF Organisations (FoWO) purpose is to unite, promote,protect and support the WWOOF movement around the world.
Launched on 1st May 2013 this site is the new, official website for FoWO and promotes the WWOOF movement and provides general information about WWOOF organisations world-wide.
FoWO was founded as a way for WWOOF organisations to come together and share common responsibilities including the management of this website, WWOOF in countries without a national WWOOF organisation as yet and trademarking issues .
It replaces information previously found at wwoof.org and represents an exciting new phase in the development of WWOOF.
The Federation of WWOOF Organisations is a non profit organisation and its member organisations work together in the spirit of an international federation with democratic principles.
We hope you like our site!
UK: Scarlett Penn - Chair Person
Hungary: Tamas Varga - Vice Chair Person
Canada: Becky Young - Treasurer
Bangladesh: Mohammed Ataur Rahman
India: Harish Tewari
Ireland: Annie King
Sweden: Jandi Hallin
Amanda Pearson - International Development Co-ordinator Contact
Basil Black - WWOOF Independents Co-ordinator Contact