Train with us in California!

Training opportunities for the next generation of food and farming leaders in agroecology

Agroecology, Farming and Food Pathways (AFFP) – for California residents

– an engaging training and certificate program in Urban & Rural Agroecological Food Systems and Microenterprise (prioritizing enrollment for socially disadvantaged US residents)

MESA’s Agroecology, Farming & Food Pathways (AFFP) offers two consecutive, participatory online courses to explore a career in agriculture. Enrollees located near MESA’s three California partner sites enroll in course curriculum and attend weekly, two-hour Zoom classes. Students also participate in hands-on farm workshops and site visits.

After completion of the 12-week course, students are invited to continue as AFFP Fellows for 1:1 mentor support, to develop learning and/or business plans, attend special topic forums, learn how to access and apply for USDA grants, and pursue additional opportunities through MESA, our partner farms and strategic allies. Fellows who complete 80 training hours during this phase earn a Certificate in Applied Agroecology.

MESA’s AFFP program partners are:

What is a Cohort? Each cohort consists of 15-20 students and is led by an instructor. The 12-week, California-based AFFP starts with an introduction to Agroecology and moves on to Advanced Agroecology. Students may earn their Advanced Agroecology certificate upon course completion, or receive MESA’s and our partner institution’s Certificate in Applied Agroecology upon completion of 80 additional, hands-on Fellowship hours.

What’s included? The AFFP course includes:

  • Intro & Advanced Agroecology curriculum
  • 12 weekly, participatory Class sessions
  • Half-day Saturday farm workshops*
  • Local farm or ag.-related site visits*

*Depending on current Covid-19 restrictions, classes, workshops and site visits may be all virtual or hybrid; each partner team/location will determine when in-person cohort sessions may safely begin.

Timeline: MESA is currently accepting inquiries and inviting applications for Cohort 5. Cohort 5 will begin with an orientation on May 17, 2022. Weekly May-July course times and access will be shared by each partner. Future AFFP start dates will be posted as available. To apply for the next AFFP Cohort, please start by submitting the inquiry form below.

Scholarship Eligibility: Students who meet the USDA’s eligibility criteria as socially disadvantaged under the 2501 Program have registration priority and receive full AFFP scholarship, which includes additional fellowship opportunities for apprenticeships, mentor matching, mini-grants, application support for USDA grants and loans, and more.

AFFP Program cost:  $0. Candidates who qualify as socially disadvantaged via USDA guidelines receive priority enrollment. Enrollees who do not meet SDEF criteria or with greater economic means are invited to consider making a suggested donation of $250 to support ongoing program development and opportunities. All limited resource learners are always welcome!

To request an application, please start by filling out the Inquiry Form below. THE AFFP IS OPEN FOR U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY.