Farm Work Abroad
Paying and Volunteer Farm Jobs
|Farm work at the Permaculture and Ecovillage Institute of the Pampas in Bage, Brazil.
One of the ways the world has really been opening up over the past decade is through farm-stay work exchanges. With the growing interest in healthier lifestyles and home food production, as well as an increase in international living, it’s no wonder that progressive-minded people have invested in properties abroad with the intention of getting off the grid, attempting self-sustainability, and living gloriously green. In turn, such green-minded progressives have come to seek the help of able-bodied travelers willing to work on farms for room and board in a natural setting. Cheap labor, free accommodation: It’s a win-win situation for everyone and, more importantly, a beautiful thing for the planet.
In the days of old (and even still), enthusiastic long-term travelers and adventurers could spend a few weeks doing seasonal work on big farms, picking fruit or vegetables to earn menial but valued wages. It was hard, sometimes monotonous labor but a means by which to earn your keep somewhere and see a bit of the world to boot. Seasonal farm work, however, tended to be more commonly available in affluent countries of regions such as Europe, Australasia, North America, and often required special work-travel visas. (Unfortunately, citizens from certain countries aren’t eligible for many such jobs, as governments often do not reciprocate working relationships with other countries.)
To deal with this difficult issue and simplify matters, online volunteering organizations such as WWOOF have grown in recent years, and thrifty travelers have found new ways to stay on the move long-term without draining their savings, but also without having to obtain work visas. Likewise, clued-up property owners have figured out how to find and keep enthusiastic workers without breaking their bank accounts or becoming businesses.—Jonathon Engels
Sheep Inn: Internationally Acclaimed — Award Winning
PO Box 05-01-240, Chugchilán, Cotopaxi, Ecuador. Black
Sheep Inn aims to provide a comfortable, educational experience
for guests, teaching them about the local area, local customs
and Permaculture, while contributing to and improving the local
community and the natural environment. The goal is to be a leader
in environmental stability and ecotourism. Eco Permaculture features
include: solar panels, adobe construction, composting toilets,
recycling, roof water collectors, gray water systems, organic
gardens, community education and aid work, reforestation, erosion
control and more.
CAEP.ORG: International Paid Agriculture Exchange Programs, Work abroad program in a range of countries for people aged 18-30 (some programs vary) with at least two years of practical experience in agriculture, horticulture, or equine husbandry. For winemaking, exchange participants must be aged 21-35 and have experience of at least one grape harvest.
Earth to City Ecuador has volunteers do hands-on farming, fishing or wildlife activities typical of rural Ecuadorean communities. In the mountains, work side-by-side with community members to milk cows, make cheese, plant organic fruits and vegetables, harvest, fleece sheep, gather wild mushrooms, cook, teach English to locals, and more. In the jungle, make jewelry out of seeds, take notes on wildlife during jungle patrols, tour petroleum extracting facilities, take part in jungle activities under guidance of members of the Cofan indigenous community. On the coast, fish, chop plantains, pull up yuca, trap crabs, harvest coconuts, make raw chocolate out of cacao, and more...
HELP Exchange is an extraordinary website offering free information from
hosts who provide addresses and descriptions for those seeking
farm work and other seasonal jobs in exchange for free accommodation
and meals worldwide. 5,000+ host addresses in Australia, 3,000+
in New Zealand, 5,000+
in Europe, 1,000+ in Canada, 1,000+ in the U.S., and 1,000+ in
other locations worldwide.The network of hosts offering
farm exchanges abroad—including organic farming and
growing at an incredibly fast pace.
Jobaroo provides information about seasonal farm work and fruit picking opportunities in Australia. Jobaroo also has visa information and other useful resources for travelers and other professionals interested in living and working in Australia.
National Harvest Labour Information Service is a centralized source of information on vacancies in fruit and vegetable harvests and other farm work throughout Australia, especially in the busy harvest season (Jan-March) in Victoria, around Mooroopna.
PickingJobs.com is the place to find interesting seasonal jobs abroad. As the name suggests, fruit picking features strongly but you can now also find work in the fields of organic farming, nature conservation, the environment and green and sustainable energy.
Seasonal Work New Zealand publicizes short-term jobs for travelers with a valid working holiday visa, mainly in the fields of farm work such as fruit harvesting and processing, but also in restaurants, construction, etc.
Visitoz Scheme runs 5-day courses in outback working techniques and then directs participants with working holiday visas to one of nearly 1000 employers offering paid farm jobs on the land and in the hospitality industry. Course fee includes visa service for US citizens aged 18-30.
Workaway offers listings of many different types of volunteer farm work abroad, much of the organic variety, as well as many other volunteer seasonal jobs often offering free room and board in exchange, all for a small membership fee of $30.
WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is a global website has links to the national offices in the countries that have a WWOOF coordinator. National WWOOF coordinators compile a list of their member farmers willing to provide free room and board to volunteers who want to help and are interested in furthering the aims of the organic movement through work on local farms. Currently there are WWOOF branches in the U.K., Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Slovenia, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Ghana, Uganda, Nepal, China, Japan, Korea, and U.S. An online list of organic farms in all other countries (known as WWOOF Independents) can be obtained from the website.