Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA) connects sustainable farming leaders around the world for participatory training and cross-cultural exchange to strengthen local, resilient food systems worldwide. Since 1997, MESA has connected over 1500 farmers, activists and advocates and helped start nearly 250 small-scale farms and food justice projects worldwide.
A non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, MESA enables cross-cultural exchange around global practices of sustainable agriculture. The training is a two-way exchange to spur innovation and preserve traditional techniques worldwide and advance a farmer-led grassroots movement to transform the global food system. Training programs focus on ecological production practices, processing, direct marketing, community organizing and education, and organic crop research and breeding.
MESA proudly offers the only J-1 Training and Cultural Exchange Program--as designated by the U.S. Department of State--to solely facilitate a "share and learn" experience on behalf of sustainable agriculture for small-scale farmers and grassroots activists. MESA's U.S. agricultural program designation permits us to sponsor trainees (aka "Stewards") for up to 12 months on a J-1 training visa to come to the U.S. for training and cross-cultural exchange. MESA also facilitates international training and exchange opportunities with our alumni network for farmers and agrarians from the US and around the world.
To recruit exceptional Stewards for U.S. training, MESA establishes global partnerships with NGOs, university programs, and other organizations that are well regarded in the field of sustainable agriculture and cultural exchange. MESA's global partners sometimes offer reciprocal training programs in their home communities.
MESA also manages competitive matching grant programs for participating Hosts and Stewards. Sustainable Projects Recognizing Innovative Growers (SPRIG) grants foster innovation, mentorship, and experimentation for sustainable farms and organizations by supporting collaborative on-site projects involving Hosts and Stewards. Upon program completion, Stewards are eligible for grants to launch SPRIG projects in their home communities. Since 1998, MESA has funded dozens of small-scale SPRIGs abroad designed by enterprising Steward alumni in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Mexico,Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Lithuania, Armenia, Georgian Republic, Kenya and Ghana.