WOOFer Orientation Pack

Please sign and email the form below prior to arrival.


The form below acknowledges that you have read and understand the WOOFer Work Exchange and Safety Policies/FAQs in the WOOFer Orientation Pack.

I, _______________________________ (first and last name) have read and understand the work exchange and safety policies and FAQs contained in the Waihuena Farm WOOFER orientation pack. I acknowledge that participation in the WOOFer  program at Waihuena Farm is voluntarily. I acknowledge and agree that the terms of my stay are contingent on fulfilling my agreed upon work exchange schedule. I do not hold Waihuena Farm liable for any safety related injury during my stay.

Name (print) ________________________________________

Name (signature) ______________________________________

Date ____________________________________

Emergency Contact Information: __________________________________________________ (name)

___________________________________________ (number/email)

Health Care Provider Information: ____________________________________(Name of Insurance Provider)

________________________________(Insurance Provider Phone No.)

_____________________________________ (Name of Policy Holder)

WOOFER Orientation Checklist

Upon arrival I will:

  • Sign and provide safety information (form above)
  • Schedule an orientation with Melana or another friendly farm lead. If not already collected as a ‘reservation’, a $50 deposit will be collected upon arrival and refunded once your volunteer agreement is carried out and your walkthrough and exit interview are complete. (It is up to you to schedule your exit interview 2-weeks prior to your departure and/or a ʻtransitionʻ interview with Mele if you wish to request an extension to your original length of stay as part of your WOOFer agreement).
  • Review the orientation pack, including the WOOFer Work Exchange Schedule, WOOFer Policies & FAQs and WOOFer Curriculum Checklist (complete and initial at bottom of each page)
  • Sign-­up for a communal cooking night at our Monday team meeting
  • Sign-up for a weekly task (refer to task checklist) for maintaining our communal living areas at our Monday team meeting
  • Add the weekly work schedule to your calendar and ask farm leads how to log work exchange hours.
  • Ask farm staff for a tour of CSA kitchen, where ʻsecondsʻ/overabundance is stored and processed from Mondayʻs harvest; where to put recycling, garbage, and compost; location and how to ʻcheck-outʻ tools and other garden and building supplies; composting toilet; showers; laundry; internet; how to sign-out a bike and bike lock etc.
  • Ask farm leads for onsite training and/or checklist for garden/CSA tasks (e.g. how long task should take, which materials to  use, best practices, etc.)
  • Provide a bio and pic for our WOOFer section on our website
  • To learn more about the offerings at Waihuena Farm check-out our website at: waihuenfarm.com


The following checklist is used as a guide of various skillsets and capacities that are essential to keeping our small farm operating smoothly and serving our community. The checklist is a reflective tool to be used during your orientation (scheduled upon arrival- typically Sundays at 4pm) and exit interview (scheduled 2-weeks prior to your departure date). Filling out the checklist helps us understand your interest and capacities and helps us direct your stay/work-trade experience. Although weʻll do our best to provide the experience based on your interest, our main focus is production of our garden arena which supplies our weekly CSA. Some skillsets below need to be second in priority (as-needed basis) to garden production and in addition to the scheduled group workdays. Many of these skillsets will be used to perform daily garden projects during our designated work-days, to prepare farm fresh meals, to host community and youth education, wellness events and to build the capacity of our farm infrastructure and WOOFer facilities.  

Daily Farm Projects

WOOFers will engage in hands-on field time for an average of 25 hours per week and maintain responsibilities in areas to include, but not limited to:

  • Planting (including annual and perennial crops)
  • Harvesting
  • Processing for CSA/Farmstand and Community Accounts (cleaning/packaging etc.)
  • Garden and Orchard maintenance (weeding, mulching, watering, etc.),
  • Bed prep (includes prep of growing areas and maintaining/restoring soil fertility)
  • Animal husbandry (chickens and goats)
  • Meal preparation (raw/vegan/vegetarian and other types of nourishing whole-foods)
  • Maintaining Communal living areas

Additional Farm Projects

  • Building compost, soil amendments, and other natural fertilizers
  • Researching and applying remedies to plant pest and pathogens
  • Nursery maintenance and propagation
  • Food processing and value-added items (including pickling, dehydrating, fermenting, dips, sauces, tinctures, etc).
  • Cultivating and preparing plant medicine (including laʻaulapaʻau plants)
  • Nutrition (researching and preparing nutritional information and recipes for farm crops -including roots, greens, fruits, herbs and superfoods)
  • Farmers markets (seasonally)
  • Tours (hosting, developing tour materials, beautification and labeling farm growing system, etc.).
  • Youth education (developing education materials, hands-on teaching for school groups, etc.)
  • Community & Adult education (working with our ag extension agents to develop topics and host talks and workshops).
  • Community building (outreach to our CSA members and community on ways to use the farm to connect community member services and passions).
  • Wellness (hosting or coordinating farm yoga, crossfit, or other type of wellness classes)
  • Green building (including compost receiving sites, compost toilets, water catchment, off-grid structures and facilities etc.)
  • Improving Communal living areas (overlaps with green building and landscaping)
  • Researching and designing food forest/permaculture zones
  • Landscaping
  • Setting traps/hunting (wild pigs, chickens and other garden pests)
  • Graphic design/art (development of flyers, signs, website, newsletter, etc.)


Our farm staff will lead you through scheduled workday projects according to their skillsets, experience, and roles on the farm (*schedule may vary slightly weekly depending on the schedule needs of farm leads).

  •  Monday: 8am- 3pm Harvest/CSA
  •  Tuesday: 1:30pm­- 5:30pm ­ [Lead: Eliza & Caleb (main garden)]
  •  Wednesday: 9:00-noon ­ [Lead: Menko or India (perennials/orchard)]
  •  Thursday: 1:30 -5:30 pm ­ [Lead: Eliza & Caleb]
  •  Friday: 1:30pm ­4:30pm ­[Lead: Scotty or Amelia (green building project or garden)]
  •  Saturday: [OFF­]
  •  Sunday: [OFF­ or catch­up if rainout hours]. 9:00-noon ­ [Lead: India (nursery, herb garden or perennials]
  •  TOTAL: 25 scheduled hours

*Skillset/interest opportunities in addition to scheduled garden workdays include:

  • Nutrition (opportunities to prep Tuesday afternoon for Volunteer Wednesdays or prior to potluck).
  • Wellness (opportunity to host a morning workout class prior to Wellness Wednesdays). Education and Tours (scheduled on Monday afternoons, rainy-day work developing our education materials, brochures s etc.).
  • Greenbuilding: Friday workdays.
  • Outreach and Art (As-Needed Basis).

**Please log the hours you worked at the end of each day and what you accomplished so that we can keep track of all our success! (See the FAQs below for more details).

WOOFer Challenges & What Makes a Great WOOFer

After hosting WOOFers for several years, we have began to see similar challenges and successes with WOOFers, so we think it’s important to state them now, so you’re aware of these things.

What makes a great WWOOFer?

    • A Positive Attitude and a Drive to Learn: The ideal WWOOFer has a positive, can-do and self-motivated attitude, works well with others and is passionate about doing his or her part within the organic farming movement. Positivity goes a long way in making sure you have the best possible experience. You should also be content to work alone in a quiet countryside for a few hours at a time without needing someone to help or entertain you. Because organic farming allows you to enter a meditative place within yourself, it is helpful to welcome the rhythm and peace it has to offer. Be aware that organic farming involves a great deal of weeding and physical labor. Organic farming is a fantastic form of physical exercise; just be sure to stretch every day before and after you complete your farm tasks to avoid injuries. As a WWOOFer, you should have a thirst for knowledge and you should arrive at your Host farm eager to learn. Be observant; look at and listen to your surroundings, and ask questions! Practice patience during your WWOOFing experience and realize that determining the health of the land and plants requires you to be receptive to your surroundings.
    • An Eco-Friendly Conscious: Because WWOOF Hawaii focuses on organic farming methods and ecologically sound living, you should be someone who respects the environment and takes strides to conserve natural resources. While staying on your Host farm, be aware of what resources and energy are needed to complete farm tasks, and be conscious to minimize your footprint. For example, opting to take quick showers not only saves your Host money, but it also helps conserve water, one of our most precious natural resources.
    • Be Clean: Cleanliness in shared living is so very important. Do your own dishes and clean your own space, and also do a bit extra every day to clean the common spaces and tidy up after the guests. If you are someone who leaves messes and dishes for others to clean up, it will be noticed quickly by the others on the team.


  • Be Self-Reliant: Although some food and resources are provided for Woofers at Waihuena, you need to provide for your own needs.


      • There is a nice communal kitchen with pots and pans, silverware, storage space,
      • The farm has tools and materials for all the work that we do. There are work gloves and sun hats in the bins, sunblock and other work clothes need to be self provided.
      • There is a washing machine for laundry and a solar array to provide power for the communal kitchen, although if appliances stop functioning correctly they may not be replaced immediately. No promises are made about what will be provided, so bring your own food, bedding, toiletries, clothes, entertainment. Any solar chargers or personal electrical support items will be helpful because electricity is not available at all areas of the farm.


  • Be Self-Managed


      • Farm leaders provide direction about tasks in the garden during their scheduled leadership times. Often you will be working independently and there is constant weeding and upkeep of the garden that you can do on your own schedule. Ask for a project at the Monday meeting or get laid out on a larger task by one of the farm leaders, and you can work on a flexible schedule. If you are passionate about improving the space or starting a new crop, get approval and
      • Log all hours and tasks that you have completed and have them ready for the meetings on Monday.


  • Be Safe (also see the WOOFer Safety section on our website)


    • Safety is first priority, for yourself and for your teammates.
    • When you see a hazard, alert others and then work toward fixing the problem, or at least put a sign or other indicator up to warn others.
    • There are no poisonous animals on the North Shore of Oahu, but there are plenty of other hazards on a working farm that you must be aware of. Centipedes and spiders can inflict a painful bite, so don’t reach under any objects on the ground without checking them first. Even handling brush is best done with work gloves on to avoid a centipede bite.
    • Wooden walkways and staircases become very slippery when wet, and they are wet often, especially in mornings. The kitchen floor, hut porches, and the black pool panels sometimes used as flooring, and any metal surfaces are other slip hazards.
    • There are vehicles coming and going from our property all day, every day, and even when driving slowly, they present a hazard when working on roadways. When you drive any vehicles on the farm or on the north shore in general, drive VERY slowly. Even slower than that. There are children and animals running around everywhere. If you seen anyone driving too fast, you can kindly let them know that it is not acceptable.

WOOFer challenges:

  • Poor work ethic- not showing up on time or giving priority to the agreed upon work schedule and valuable time of our core farm crew.
  • Negative or helpless attitude or morale. Each personʻs experience is unique and can be greatly enhanced with a positive, ʻcan-doʻ mentality. Please look at the opportunities and do not let the negativity of others bring you down.
  • Not Prepared for the Working in the Heat. The people who do best here are in good shape, and look at this as a way to build strength, both mentally and physically.  We sometimes get dreamers who imagine an idyllic farm life is something other than it is:  dirty fingernails, lots of sweat, etc.  We do try to arrange work during cooler hours or in the shade, and not everything is back-breaking hole digging and stuff like that.
  • Taking initiative but without asking for permission or guidance first. Each WOOFer has an opportunity to make a lasting impact on our farm and WOOFer program. It is important that projects are planned and pre-approved at the Monday team meetings (e.g. planting trees in the wrong areas could impact our water lines, planting beyond the growing areas may lead to neglect and an unsuccessful project, using building materials that were not pre-approved could lead to compromising other farm projects etc.).


Policy for completing your stay?

Upon completion of your stay, schedule an ʻexit interviewʻ and ʻwalkthroughʻ with Melana. The “WOOFer Curriculum Checklist” will be used at your exit interview. Your $50 deposit will be returned after your walkthrough is complete and all supplies and equipment are returned (e.g. bike and bike lock). If leaving early, a two ­week notice is necessary to receive your full deposit.

Policies for checkin­g-in/checking-­out:

  • Check-­in: We ask that you read the welcome letter and package and complete all info in the package (e.g. ask a farm lead for an orientation, sign-out supplies for bedding etc.,).
  • Check­-out: Your deposit is returned once laundry is cleaned, dried and returned and a walk­through is done to assure your accommodations are cleaner than you found it. (Please schedule the walk­through with Mele or Paula).

Policy for requesting to stay beyond the agreed upon time period of your stay?

  • If you wish to stay longer than your agreed upon time period, you must arrange a meeting with Mele to agree on terms for an extended stay (e.g. paid short-term stay, request for continued short-term or long-term work-trade). Some of our hard-working, bright-minded WOOFERs have transitioned into longer-term positions. If you wish to stay, request an interview with Mele. Prior to the interview, farm leads will provide Mele with an overview of your work and progress. At this time, terms of the stay will change and set on a case-by-case basis.

Policies for coming and going on farm property:

  • Privacy and safety: Waihuena is a family farm that offers services to the community during designated dates/times. Please remember that the farm is our home and we like to know who is here. Say hi to strangers. Help us limit foot traffic/strangers by noting peopleʻs names, vehicle description (if applicable), and date/time for any visitors during non­-designated hours.
  • Guests: Be a good guest, no hosting other guests. In addition to our CSA, you can invite friends to our weekly schedule of yoga, volunteer days, and special events.
  • Drive slow: Watch for children.

WOOFER Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • How many hours are required for the work­trade and what is included in the exchange? We require 25 hours a week of work­trade.
  • What is provided as part of the work exchange? In exchange for your work­hours, we provide your housing/accommodations (e.g. pillows, sheets, cooking utensils etc.) and basic provisions for communal weekday dinner meals (e.g. rice, beans, oil, etc.).
  • What is the schedule for completing my work­trade hours? Refer to schedule above.
  • What is expected during my worktrade hours? Ask and clarify please! Ask each farm project lead to be trained on specific tasks and how long each task should take. Ask for best practices for: weeding (e.g. how to fully remove nut grass for bed prep), watering (e.g. donʻt water when hose is hot), bed prep, seed planting, sifting soil, compost & mulching, administering soil amendments, handling tools and equipment, harvesting/grading/packaging and preparing food for CSA and markets. Many of these tasks have checklist that provide guidance. If a checklist is not available, ask a farm lead.
  • What tools/equipment can I use? All garden hand tools (painted orange) are stored in the nursery and must be returned to the proper place after each use. Tools used during organized workdays need to be returned and not left out in the garden. If youʻd like to use tools outside of organized workdays or building tools in the containers (e.g. weedwackers, saws, etc.) please sign-out the tool on the clipboard in the toolroom and ask one of our maintenance crew. You must be authorized to use a golf carts and or other motorized equipment.
  • How do I log my hours? Please log your hours at the end of each day and what youʻve accomplished. (The notebook to log your hours is located in the CSA area inside a clear plastic bin). Weʻll review our accomplishments on our Monday farm meeting.
  • What counts as hours for the work­trade verses my own time? Work­trade hours include tasks that contributes towards growing, harvesting and preparing for our CSA, such as, work in the garden, nursery, help with the chickens and other farm animals. Tasks for communal living are not considered for work­trade hours, such as cleaning the communal fridge and kitchen area, cooking communally, etc.
  • What if I wasnʻt able to complete my hours? If you are unable to complete your hours due to rain or other farm­ related reasons, please pre­arrange (at the Monday farm meeting) a schedule for make­up hours for the following week. If you are unable to complete your work­trade hours, you are welcome to pay for your accommodations at a compensatory rate for the incomplete hours. You are welcome to pay for the time for your stay if you are unable/donʻt want to make the required 25 hours of work­trade for the week.
  1. FAQ: What do I need to know about communal living/sharing the communal areas on the farm and using farm amenities?
  • Can I graze/harvest for myself? for the communal dinner? The garden is harvested on Monday mornings and prepared into shares for our CSA. The ʻsecondsʻ or over­abundance are reserved for the CSA kitchen (including communal dinners) and a lead is assigned each week for keeping these items fresh. Any leftover CSA shares not picked­-up by Wednesday are used for farm lunch (please first check if they will be used for Thursday farmerʻs market).
  • Where do I take the Trash? Compost? Recycling? Trash and recycling is located at the entrance of the farm gate. It is up to all of us to empty the CSA kitchen trash although a lead will be assigned each week for garbage/recycling/compost etc. Farm staff can help locate the most actively used compost areas. Most food scraps are fed directly to the chickens or goats.
  • Where do I shower? Outdoor showers are available near the three main Woofer accommodations. Look for signs for instructions on use.
  • Where can I do my laundry? Awashing machine is available near the Yellow House. Lines for drying are near the washer. Please plan on washing on sunny days for best air­-drying conditions.
  • Can I borrow the bikes, surfboard etc? ASK. These are personal items. Please donʻt use anything without asking Mele and signing-­out items.
  • Can I invite guests? Be a good guest, no other guests. In addition to our CSA, you can invite friends to our weekly schedule of yoga, volunteer days and special events.
  1. FAQ: How can I make the most of my stay on the farm?
  • What can I expect to learn? We provide an experience for applied learning of permaculture principles and general knowledge about growing food in tropical climates like Hawaii.
  • How can I make a lasting contribution? Plan a return visits, work towards larger farm goals, stay updated by joining our farm newsletter, invest time, resources and your share your passions while at the farm and after you leave, apply what you learn back home and share it with us.
  • How can I apply my passion/special skills? Our CSA/work­trade projects and other weekly events provide opportunities for applying your skillsets and passions (see the WOOFer Skillset Checklist and Work Schedule above). Especially helpful are: knowledge about growing food and animal husbandry, green­ design and building, nutrition, yoga and other forms of fitness/wellness, music, photography and art, GIS mapping (*Please pre­arrange an agreement if you want to provide your services during the special event times that are not part of the work­trade schedule).