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Volunteer Work on Organic Farms Abroad

A Meaningful and Very Low Cost Way to Travel Short- or Long-Term

Resources updated 9/29/2023 by Transitions Abroad

Work on farms abroad
Volunteer work on farms abroad can span the spectrum, from agriculture to caring for animals.

While certain unconventional travel adventures might drain your wallet and divert your focus from the essence of your journey—the very soul of the destination—there exists an great alternative. It not only leads you off-the-beaten-path but immerses you in the heart of a country's culture, allowing you to create deep connections with its people and their land, all while costing you next to nothing. Welcome to the world of agrotourism volunteering, where your travel experience transforms into a journey of giving back and sensing authentic immersion in the culture of the people and their often long-cultivated land.

Environmental generation projects and organic farms are rapidly expanding worldwide, offering a meaningful experience to the traveler on a shoestring and those who want to try something new while working with and for the environment. The agrotourism experience can vary significantly according to your needs, from paying to stay on an organic farm as a guest in Costa Rica to paying a minimal fee and working for a couple of hours a day on a reserve in Ghana to getting down and dirty for free room and board in Canada. Whatever type of rural experience you desire, thousands of farms worldwide cater to your needs.

However, the most fulfilling experience by far is volunteering and participating wholeheartedly in a project with locals and other volunteers. Every culture looks different from the ground up. Because most environmental projects and organic farms are located in rural communities, you will be exposed to an experience that you would be hard-pressed to find either on an “ecotour” or as an independent traveler.

You will usually be rewarded with free room and board; in the more affluent countries, you may even receive a small stipend. Every farm varies, so checking what is expected of you before you go is best. Just be aware of what some work will require, whether you want to try for a few days or weeks or commit up to a year.

Accommodations are often rustic and unusual but usually comfortable. Meals are provided and often eaten communally; much of the food on your plate will have been grown on that farm.

You will be able to enjoy the benefits of being in the beautiful wilderness of a new and different country while having the reassurance that you have a safe place to stay with a secure social network around you. Alongside this luxury, you will learn how to grow your food without pesticides, be exposed to many new and alternative learning experiences, and give something back to the environment. And because of the abundance of these farms, it is not always necessary to stay in one place. By moving from farm to farm, the entire country—no, the whole world—becomes available to you.

As a veteran organic farm volunteer, I can recommend this experience to anyone who is fit and capable and doesn’t mind getting a bit muddy. Volunteering on an organic farm is about giving and receiving, not about trying to get a free ride. Farm and project hosts often give up their time and space to welcome volunteers, so respect and care must always be reciprocated. However, this is rarely a problem as the community vibe produced by such projects usually makes people pull together wonderfully.

Agrotourism has become the more environmentally-conscious answer to seeing the world from a slightly different viewpoint, from the ground up, and offers accessibility to the world to those of us who desire an unpretentious eco-experience. But beware: it can be addictive. I left a job in Britain to manage an organic farm in Costa Rica and stayed far longer than expected.

For More Information on Organic Farm Work Abroad

WWOOF: The website offers 12,000 hosts in 130+ countries worldwide with organic farms and farm work needed and provided by over 100,000 people since its inception 50 years ago. Many countries have separate WWOOF websites, but you will be redirected from the primary one. Membership for one year varies from $5-$60+ and includes room and board.

Helpx: A website whose membership is just $20 for 2 years for access to unlimited hosts who need your help in exchange, most often, for room and board. The site lists farm jobs in Europe, South, Central, North America, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific, and the Caribbean.

Workaway: Hosts offer volunteer farm work projects and permaculture work worldwide. Many opportunities offer free room and board with various options depending on the host. Workaway provides resources to help you get the most out of your experience and emphasizes safety. All for a small yearly membership fee. A great website that lists many volunteer farm work opportunities worldwide and some paid internships.

Caroline Nye dancing.

Related Topics
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Volunteer Work Abroad
Short-Term Work Abroad
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Working in an Eco-Lodge in Costa Rica
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