Twenty-six MESA participants celebrated the beginning of their eight-month training programs. This year’s group has representatives from Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, and Thailand.
The 2009 Core Training Program Orientation at Hidden Villa Farm was a grand success! The week-long event, which helps program participants ease in to US culture, food, English, etc took place in the beautiful Los Altos Hills south of San Francisco.
Over the course of the 5 days, the Stewards’ personalities quickly emerged and the group overcame langauge barriers overnight by sharing food and playing music together. By the end of the week, there was a tangible air of excitement as the group boarded planes and busses to travel to their respective placements and their new hosts. MESA Staff could not be more excited by the enthusiasm of this year’s CTP group and feels confident that this group of Stewards is going to thrive over the next eight months.
MESA was very lucky to have a number of talented guest-presenters this year. Bill Dudley, Hidden Villa’s Director of Horticulture, gave the group a detailed tour of the greenhouses on the farm, adding in his knowledge of CA native plants. Laura Scott from the California Certified Organic Farmers led the group on a mock certifcation of the farm at Hidden Villa, giving the Stewards a good introduction the things a farmer must to do in order to market their produce as “organic” in the US. Andy Scott, a pioneear in the field of Biodynamic Agriculture, led a hands-on workshop teaching the group about tree pruning and biodynamic tree painting. And last, but certainly not least, Dan and Margo Royer-Miller led an engaging, hands-on demonstration of building a compost pile in the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method trademarked by John Jeavons.
There are just a few photos of the week’s activities below. If you’d like to see more, there are many more photos in our 2009 Orientation Gallery.