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 classes. Earn a Certificate in Applied Agroecology upon completion of the coursework. Students also participate in hands-on farm workshops and site visits. MESA’s main partners and CA regions are:

  • The Center for Food, Faith and Justice (Berkeley, and East Bay farms)
  • Mission Resource Conservation District and Edge of Urban Farm (Fallbrook/Vista)
  • Institute for Sustainability at Cal State University (Northridge campus)

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 leads to earning a Certificate in Advanced Agroecology from MESA and our partner institution.

What’s included? The AFFP course includes:

  • Intro & Advanced Agroecology curriculum
  • 12 weekly, participatory Class sessions
  • Up to six, half-day Saturday farm workshops*
  • Two 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.

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.

We are now accepting inquiries and inviting applications for the CA-Based Cohorts 4, beginning in January, 2022. Future AFFP start dates will be posted as available. Can’t wait for January and want to start your agroecology journey now? Please review the TAAP section below. To receive more information about AFFP or TAAP, please fill out the inquiry form below.

What’s the difference between the AFFP and TAAP? While AFFP is intended for CA residents, our TAAP cohorts welcome U.S.-based students across the U.S. See TAAP info. below.

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.

Note: 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, earn MESA’s Applied Agroecology certificate, apply for USDA grants, and pursue additional opportunities through MESA, our partner farms and strategic partners.


2501 Program funding for AFFP provided by the USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement