Orientation 2012

We returned to Hidden Villa Farm in Los Altos Hills to welcome this year’s stewards. They are a lively, passionate group of 19 from Ecuador, Georgia, Nepal, Peru, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and they filled the week with positive energy.



Our 2012 orientation was a very special and intense time for MESA staff and Core Training Program stewards. At the end of March, a group of 19 stewards arrived from Ecuador, Georgia, Nepal, Peru, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. We spent 5 days at Hidden Villa Farm in Los Altos Hills, getting to know each other, learning about sustainable agriculture, and preparing for the adventure ahead.


This year’s stewards are a diverse, lively, and passionate group who filled the week with their good vibes and positive energy.  From pitching in on the farm with mulching- even moving a pig!- to helping whip up regional delights in the hostel’s kitchen, the group was eager to jump in and lend a hand.  Through in-depth personal introductions we learned about each person’s connection and commitment to agriculture, as well as hopes and goals for their U.S. training and the future. During free time in the evenings, language barriers were often a source of frustration but also of good-natured humor. Luckily we remembered to bring the guitar, which was passed around for some amazing performances in Spanish, English, Georgian, and Thai.


We were fortunate to be joined thoughout the week by some spectacular guests including; Ignacio Chapela, professor at U.C. Berkeley; David Funkhouser, Strategic Relations Manager of FairTrade USA; and Luke Howerter from Golden Rule Mini-farm. Each of our guests had a special way of inspiring and enlivening the group of stewards.  Hidden Villa Staff Suzanne, Diana, Aspen, and Bill led tours and activities around the extensive farm.  On Wednesday evening many friends and supporters of MESA came out to welcome the stewards with a festive dinner.  During this dinner and throughout the week everyone feasted on the food contributed by our generous donors and prepared by chef (and MESA program coordinator) Michelle Roses.

After our week together, the stewards departed for their host farms, bringing their energy, skills, and desire to learn with them to farms across the country, from New York to Hawaii.





Food Donors:  Natural Grocery Company, Green Leaf, Veritable Vegetable, Bi-Rite Market, Acme Bread Company, Marin Sun Farms, Whole Foods Market, Nutiva, Clover Stornetta, Stonyfield, Organic Valley, Lundberg Family Farm, Trader Joe’s

Drink Donors:  Gordon Biersch, Ridge Vineyard, Traditional Medicinals, Cafe Mam

Gear Donors:  Patagonia, Dorothy Biddle, WomansWork

And our wonderful host: Hidden Villa Farm