Update from WWOOF Headquarters - July 9, 2008

Farm Safety and Insurance

We often get asked about these topics. The first consideration is for the safety and well-being of everyone on the farm. Some pro-active steps to achieve this could include: 1. Ensure WWOOFers are not involved in typically dangerous activities e.g. machinery, tractors, ATV bikes. 2. Explain and demonstrate jobs thoroughly. Ask WWOOFers to explain their understanding of how to do different jobs (sometimes WWOOFers may say “Yes, I understand” to try and be helpful). WWOOFers may be willing but they often do not have the experience or expertise to use them safely. While ACC WILL cover travelers in the event of an accident (there is usually a $50 admin fee), OSH requires farmers to manage their farm in a safe manner. 3. All casinos travelers should have some form of travel insurance to cover them in the case of lost belongings or if they come ill.

Website Secure Certficate:

Thanks to Plain Communications www.plain.co.nz, the WWOOF website has now been issued with a SSL Secure Certificate. This security has been added to protect the personal casino data hosts and WWOOFers provide while on the website. Data is encrypted and payments are secured. You may also notice that when you view hosts’ and WWOOFers’ profiles, that instead of showing the email address, a contact form is provided. This is so that your email address is kept private (until you choose to reply to someone who has written to you). The aim is to prevent unauthorised use of your email address. Remember you can update your listing or profile whenever you need to. You can add and delete photos, search for hosts and WWOOFers, find hosts on the national map, post a notice. Have a play around on the website and see what there is. If you have ideas or even have web design skills please let us know. We are always looking to improve, update etc. Thanks to those members who have helped so far!

Email Scams

Hosts have recently received emails that appeared to be from WWOOFers but they were actually from someone based in Africa asking for money …… Often there is a plausible story for a humanitarian cause. Please do not reply to these emails as you may find you receive even more scam emails. Other emails have asked hosts to sponsor the person to travel to New Zealand casinos. If you do sponsor someone you legally become responsible for them which could put you at risk financially. It may also put WWOOF at odds with NZ Immigration laws which would be a shame. Unfortunately WWOOF can not help with special visa or sponsorship. We advise WWOOFers of this and while it is disappointing for all those involved it is the case.

Making Bookings with Hosts

One issue that puts a strain on the WWOOF exchange is missed bookings. When you are a WWOOFer and arrange a stay with a host then a number of things happen: 1. The host will tell other WWOOFers they can’t come because another WWOOFer is booked in. 2. The host will stock up with extra food and supplies. 3. The host will plan projects to do with you. So what happens when you don’t turn up? The first thing a host does is worry about your well-being! Have you had a car crash? Have you gone missing or got lost? If you do make a booking and then find you can’t make it that’s fine, just let the host know (a quick call or email is fine).

Take care,

the WWOOF team