What We Do

We have four interrelated program areas that each contribute to our work connecting a global grassroots network, collaborating with food and farming leaders, and cultivating community food systems.

Experiential Exchange

Our flagship program, MESA’s International Exchange is a two-way exchange for farmers around the world to spur innovation, preserve traditional agroecological practices, and transform the global food system. For US-based programs, MESA provides international stewards with J1 visa documentation for up to 12 months of ecological food system training and cross-cultural exchange.

In 2016, MESA and Organic Seed Alliance launched a new Seed Internship and online course to promote on-farm organic seed production and new organic seed growers.

Online Learning

Collaborating with numerous partners, MESA recently launched the Farm-Centered Learning Network for Social Change, an online learning platform offering open-source curriculum and four online courses to complement hands-on farm training. For all interested farmers, students, educators, thinkers and doers, courses provide the technical and theoretical toolkit needed to face an increasingly globalized food system and build a just, agroecological food system.

Bay Area Programs (BAFT)

Launched in the Spring of 2016, the Bay Area Farmer Training Program is an Oakland-based project focused on immigrants, refugees, and formerly incarcerated individuals who aspire to farm as a career. (Check back for the next BAFT Course offerings!)

On-Farm Research and Projects

MESA is committed to supporting on-farm projects to increase the practices of agroecology as well as farmer-driven research.

MESA manages a competitive matching grant and microloan program called Sustainable Projects for Resilience, Innovation and Germination (SPRIG). Exchange Stewards and Hosts can apply for funds to implement collaborative on-farm projects, and Exchange Alumni are eligible to apply for funds for projects in their home communities. Read more about on-farm projects here.

We are also involved in several collaborative on-farm research projects including climate resilience studies, organic no-till vegetable production, and dry-farmed tomatoes trials.

Conferences

MESA staff, Stewards, and global guests also regularly present keynotes, panels, and workshops at world-renowned conferences including Ecofarm, Women’s Food and Agriculture Network, Sustainable Agriculture Education Association, Soil Not Oil, Northeast Organic Farmers Association, Full Circle Fund, and the National Heirloom Exposition. See our upcoming events here.

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