Impacts through ‘WWOOFing’ on the volunteer’s personal development : Increasing awareness of sustainable societal values 

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för organisation och entreprenörskap (OE)

Abstract: This study focuses on volunteers within the non-profit organization ‘WWOOF’ World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farming, which provides individuals the opportunity to experience a sustainable organic farming through volunteering.  As sustainability needs to be more valued within society and as individuals are seen to develop similar values from their social surrounding, the study examines how being a volunteer on a WWOOF farm influences the volunteer’s personal development. The material findings of 20 semi-structured interviews from previous WWOOF volunteers were collected and indicated four main outcomes: increased environmental awareness, community awareness, a sustainable lifestyle and personal growth among the volunteers. The outcomes are discussed in relation to the following main theories and concepts: sustainable worldview theory, symbolic interactionism, social identity theory, the Third Space and narrative identity theory. The sustainable societal values achieved among the volunteers indicated that being a volunteer on a WWOOF farm, can contribute to improve the global community

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