Urban Wwoofing concept

[An evolving concept. Grey = things to work on]

Urban Wwoofing seeks to connect useful travelers with supportive and needy hosts in urban areas. It is an existing practice which happens in patches but this initiative is to give it a name then network and promote the concept

We laid a slab!

openly. The practice can also lead to long term accommodation when the right matches happen (“resident urban wwoofers”) and can even be a viable alternative to ongoing housing in the area you usually live.

Here I shall document the development of the Urban Wwoofing content. Also will have working lists and callouts for assistance with the project of developing the concept into a networked community of useful guests and worthy hosts. In the future it will be a resource hub for people looking to host or be hosted using urban wwoofing guidelines or just interested in the concept. For now I (/we) need to develop such resources !

So far its home has been the Urban Wwoofing group on CouchSurfing.org and official-style fleshing out of what it is over on the CS Urban Wwoofing Wiki page. If you wish to contribute feel free to join the group – add to /edit the wiki page or just leave a comment on this page.

Some guiding principles which the Urban Wwoofing practice hopes to follow, are:

  • Reciprocity + Gifting
    Giving and receiving in a reciprocal manner but not without a touch of selfless gifting now and then.
  • A Decentralised Do-ocracy using Non-Violent Communication
    Working in peoples homes can be tricky compared to farms as it is smaller and more personal. Let us call upon the NVC methods and solve any problems which may arise ourselves (without litigation and insurance).
  • Collective Wisdom
    We are all students, we are all teachers. Let’s celebrate and value the diverse knowledge we each gather in our lives and enjoy sharing it. This may not just be from host to wwoofer!

These principles give big nods to the Permaculture Principles, Permablitz, Open Source Software movement and Burning Man Principles. Over time it will grow up and have its own concise documentation, but for now the wikipedia link fest can suffice. So don’t expect to find all the answers here, jump into the couch surfing group or just start doing it with people you know !


Create PDF + some print zines, pictorial, amusing, sketching out key principles. eg: Reciprocity, mutual respect-mutual exchange. In a simliar fashion to the Humanure handbook style of illustrations or the City Ride Guide. [illustrator callout below]

a mix of urban wwoofing related characters..

Roadmap / Journey

{humanize this more}

Create term. Use term to house oneself for one year plus. Start an Urban Wwoofing group on CouchSurfing.org. Describe, promote and network through CouchSurfing. Host other Urban Wwoofers. Reflect on both sides of the deal. Promote through blog and Permi Diary Article. Develop the concept into one which can be picked up relatively easy. Build upon documentation and principles/guidelines. Promote wider via groups below and perhaps more workshop/talk style formats. Watch it grow 🙂

Skill callouts

* Hand illustrators, cartoons, diagrams logos etc.
* Folks keen on documenting, creating documentation and little ezines, handbooks
* eventually . . translation

please drop a comment below to show you interest..


Promotion has so far been word of mouth (including lifestyle promotion i guess since its been my only form of housing for over a year). This low key word of mouth promo has led to the following three oppurtunites:

3CR Community Radio Melbourne – Interview with Dylan on the SUWA show re: Urban Wwoofing
Urban Food Growing Course – frugalist massive radio (forthcoming podcast)

2011 Permaculture DiaryStory/article and photos of Dylan and some sub-urban wwoofing. A link to this blog.

Workshop / Talks:
Dylan gave a talk on Urban Wwoofing at the national LETS conference in october last year. Was positively received. A few people attending from VIC were already doing it – some others commented:

“I think its great idea. It should go worldwide” We hope so too.

Follow this link to see all the posts with an Urban Wwoofing tag on this blog. (any tech-savvy folks know how i could drop in an RSS box right here for that purpose? any advice useful..)

Cross links to promote

Couchsurfing Groups: WWOOF (3000+ memb) WWOOF’ers 595 A Couch on a Boat 644 Urban WWOOFing – Barter Homestay Exchange 13 WWOOF Australia 199 Couchsailing International 835 CouchSurfing Wiki 155 Hitchhikers 12506 Natural Builders 112 International Permaculture Hospitality Network 945 The Sailing Sailors project 1460 Long-term Couchsurfing 586 Long-term Couchsurfing offer(Nomad base) Permaculture Groups: Permaculture Sydney North South West East (there really is all those groups). Permaculture Principles Transition Town Groups: Sydney Darebin Blue Mountains Others Local – Simple – Frugal blogs: Simple Green Frugal Writers Co-operative Aussies Living Simply Sydney Community Groups: Cycle Re-cycle AKA Bike Club

Aka urban wwoofing : urban woofing : urban WWOOFing etc  - dylan prins
7 Responses “Urban Wwoofing concept” →
  1. I’ll tidy up this page at some point soon.. mm this blog thing is getting a bit wiki style here. Hope you are enjoying the “curtain-up” approach. If not – Feel free to heckle in comment form.


  2. Fuchsia & Kamil

    February 13, 2011

    Hi there,

    Two very keen workers looking to work in return for accommodation in Melbourne… We’re both on CS ‘Fuchsia.C’ & ‘Kamil Jaroszczak’.

    Any offers &/or pointers appreciated,


    • Have you checked out the group on CS, i think theres about 4-5 potential melbourne hosts on there. You could join the group and post a general message or contact each of the melb folks individually with couch requests mentioning urban wwoofing.. I’d reccomend the latter. – have fun – d

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