News and Media

December 23, 2015 - 12:53pm
Michelle Roses Wight, Director of Communications, michelle@mesaprogram.org, (510) 654-8858

Your support towards MESA’s scholarship program will go beyond changing one farmer's life.

Look at Peris Wanjiru Nderitu from Kenya. She is a farmer and community leader who received a MESA scholarship in 2011 to train in the Grow Biointensive method with Margo and Dan of Circle of the Sun Farm in Ohio. She is now co-directing G-BIACK, the Grow Biointensive Agriculture Center of Kenya which has supported over 14,000 small farmers in reviving traditional and sustainable practices throughout Africa in the past five years!

 

 

Peris is the kind of visionary that doesn’t strive to be the center of attention, but leads with a grace and humility that draws people in. She and Samuel, her husband and co-founder of G-BIACK, are widely respected within their local community in Kenya and throughout many countries in Africa. As Peris explains, she used her MESA program to exchange knowledge and hone her leadership skills. She states, "Before I came to MESA, [speaking in front of] a large group, I would get tense and I would feel 'no this is not me who should be doing this, somebody else better should be doing this' ...But when you’re aware you have the knowledge, you have the power. You can stand and say everything that you know." After participating in MESA to learn and share with a global network of farmers differing in ages and cultures, but united in restoring their local food systems, Peris felt more confident as a leader. Rather than following the "new" and "improved" methods advertised by multinational companies promoting agrochemicals, fertilizers and seeds throughout Kenya, she demonstrates how it's better to be self sufficient and use renewable resources and local materials.

 

 

"We as G-BIACK would like people to go back to how it was before. And people will eat well, people will live well. We have all the resources we need. The knowledge is not being passed from the old to the young so it would be so good if people could get the knowledge that they can use the resources they have around their homes and build and eat well. And for that, we don't need to copy what we are seeing in the magazines and what we are seeing in the TVs. I think we are OK with what we have because all the resources are within us."

 

 

In more ways than one, Peris is planting seeds of health and resilience and changing lives. Her next goal is to join MESA's Next Level Program to gain experience in value added processing and nutrition while taking courses in organic agriculture. In Kenya, she says, it is impossible to earn a degree in agriculture that is not focused on chemical agriculture. She aims to earn a degree in organic agriculture or agroecology so when she returns to Kenya, she will be able to accredit G-BIACK as a farmer's college focused on sustainable agriculture. "I always say that I came on behalf of everybody else in Kenya. I have to tell them what I learned, to help change their lives. When one person is taught I believe we will change the whole community."

Thank you for supporting Peris in her next journey, and for contributing to MESA’s scholarship program!

 

 

October 28, 2015 - 1:32pm
Allison Loux, International Communications and Event Planning Intern, allison@mesaprogram.org, (510) 654-8858
 

We had a fantastic celebration on October 22nd with delicious food and an inspirational panel of women changemankers for our Forging Farmers Event after a week of Exit Seminar activities with this year's stewards.

 

GRATITUDE

We want to send a huge thank you to all who made the event possible - the wonderful stewards, volunteers, staff, sponsors, and attendees! Thanks to all of you, the night was full of great energy and enthusiasm to transform our community food systems and build cross-cultural collaborations.

 

 

 

 

Stewards enjoy the Forging Farmers Event!

Panelist Speakers:

We heard thought-provoking responses from our panel of women leaders on questions such as: In your work and experience, what challenges have you encountered around patriarchy in food systems? How can we creatively dismantle patriarchy for current and future generations? Panelists also gave insight into what types of local and national policies would begin to address racial and gender inequity in access to land, resources and capital. They spoke to citizen engagement and direct action that could lead to the changing of political will. These powerful women also reflected on the question: How do you personally regenerate, cultivate a sense of balance, groundedness and well-being in the midst of actions and work that can be at different moments both life-affirming and overwhelming?

 

 

 

Our panel of women changemakers was inspriational! From left: moderators Kate Sylvan and Leah Atwood; panelists Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak, Clara Nicholls, Maya Blow, Shu-Chen Cheng, Joelci Dannacena; translator Gustavo Oliveira

 

Clara Nicholls is a lecturer in the Latin American Studies Program at UC Berkeley, teaching "Perspectives for Sustainable Rural Development in Latin America". She also teaches at Santa Clara University, as well as in various universities in Latin America and Europe. She was the founder and Director of the Latin American Doctoral Program on Agroecology sponsored by the Universidad de Antioquia in Colombia and SOCLA. She is president of the Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology (SOCLA), a network of professionals to promote agroecological alternatives to industrial agriculture. Clara is the author of three books and numerous scientific articles about agroecology, ecologically based pest management, resiliency to climate change and rural development. 

Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak runs the Devil's Gulch Ranch on the Northern California coast with her husband and children. At the ranch, the family focuses on raising winegrapes, pigs, sheep, and rabbits for meat and skins. Myriam is the International Program Director for DG Educational Services, Founder and director of HaitiCoffee.com, Inc and a USAID Farmer to Farmer Volunteer in Haiti and El Salvador with Partners of the Americas, Winrock International and HaitiCoffee. In Haiti, she has helped with Makouti Agro Enterprises, a small-scale agribusiness that unites farmers and promotes sustainable income generating agriculture.

Maya Blow is an herbalist and classical homeopath practicing in the East SF Bay Area. She studied herbal medicine at the California School of Herbal Studies in Northern Ca. and completed four years of homeopathic medical school at the Institute of Classical Homoeopathy in San Francisco. Maya and her husband run a small organic farm where they incorporate both permaculture principles and biodynamic farming methods. They produce a variety of seasonal fruit and vegetables, medicinal herbs, pastured eggs, raw dairy products, and honey, as well as humanly raised meat. Their goal is to learn to be self-sustaining and tread lightly on the earth sharing what they learn with the local community, especially people of color. Besides her passion for farming and holistic medicine, Maya is an artist, mother of two, and avid crafter. She teaches nature studies, gardening, herbal medicine making and many other homesteading and DIY classes. She has been studying, practicing, and teaching art for two decades and continues to draw her inspiration from her love of nature. Some of her hobbies are gardening, animal husbandry, foraging for wild food, fermenting and canning, making herbal medicine, cheese making, and dying with plants.

Joelci Dannacena has been a militant organizer with The Landless Rural Workers Movement of Brazil (MST) sector of the MST for over twenty years, with degrees in economics and cooperative administration. Her main tasks have been the organization of agroindustries for the produce of agrarian reform settlements. She is currently hosted here in the Bay Area as one of several young organizers sent by the MST to deepen relations with US-based movements for food sovereignty, agrarian reform, and anti-oppression.

Shu-Chen Cheng ( aka “Suejen”) is transitioning from a career in nursing to becoming a small-scale farmer. Suejen spent her childhood selling her family's vegetables at the local market, helping feed hens and ducks and chasing pigs on her family's farm in Taiwan. When she was around 10, she writes "more and more factories moved in and less and less farmland remained. Clean rivers that I used to fish in turned yellow, and as time went on there were no more crabs, frogs or fish... I witnessed my family’s change from farming to industry. Now that I am 37 years-old, I want to be the one in my family who goes back to the life that I miss so much." Suejen has been a nurse for most of her adult life, and has seen first-hand the adverse health effects of pesticide use and a heavily industrialized food diet. She joined the MESA program this year as a start to transitioning into small-scale, organic agriculture. As the first MESA steward from Taiwan, she hopes to educate farmers in sustainable methods, and to share with her community the importance of supporting local farmers.

 

Congratulations to our 2015 Forging Farmer Awardees!

Community Changemaker: Rowen White

Rowen is a Seed Keeper from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne and an activist for seed sovereignty as well as farmer, mother, community leader and educator. She is the director and co-founder of Sierra Seed Cooperative in Nevada City, California. This cooperative helps provide access to regionally adapted seeds to the area and empowers seed stewards. Rowen is also on the board of directors of Seed Savers Exchange, is a seed educator with Native Seed/Search Seed School in Tucson, Arizona, and is the co-author of Breeding Organic Vegetables: A Step by Step Guide for Growers.

Educator: Clara Nicholls

(see panelist bio above)

Host Mentor: Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak

(see panelist bio above)

Emerging Leader: Abraham Yidana

Abraham was a steward with MESA’s US Training Program in 2014, and since has created his own NGO “the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA)” in his home in Ghana. The goal of his work is to help farmers achieve food and income security through sustainable agriculture. Abraham’s Poultry Project has introduced diversified livestock farming to his community, adding another element to the traditional crop-production-based livelihood. This project focuses on improving local chicken breeds, training farmers in poultry production, and ultimately adding an alternate source of livelihood for farmers.

 

 

Check out photos from the event and from our Exit Seminar!

Forging Farmers Celebration and Exit Seminar 2015!

 

Thank You to our Event Sponsors and Donors:
The Acme Bread Company, Arizmendi Bakery, The Cheese Board CollectiveBerkeley Bowl, Frey Vineyards, Gordon Biersch Brewery, Lagunitas Brewing CompanyGreenLeaf, Lotus Foods, Lundberg Family Farms, Mechanics Bank, The Natural Grocery Company, Numi Organic Tea, Traditional MedicinalsStraus Family Creamery, and Trader Joes.
October 2, 2015 - 1:33pm
Michelle Roses Wight, Program Coordinator, michelle@mesaprogram.org, (510) 654-8858
MESA's 5th Annual Forging Farmers Event: 
Celebrating Women Transforming the Food System
San Francisco Women's Building 
Thursday, October 22nd at 6:30pm

Reserve your tickets here

Panelist Speakers:

Rowen White is a Seed Keeper from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne, and an activist for seed sovereignty, as well as farmer, mother, community leader and educator. She is the director and co-founder of Sierra Seed Cooperative in Nevada City, California. This cooperative helps provide access to regionally adapted seeds to the area and empower seed stewards. Rowen is also on the board of directors of Seed Savers Exchange, is a seed educator with Native Seed/Search Seed School in Tucson, Arizona, and is the co-author of Breeding Organic Vegetables: A Step by Step Guide for Growers.

Clara Nicholls is a lecturer in the Latin American Studies Program at UC Berkeley, teaching "Perspectives for Sustainable Rural Development in Latin America". She also teaches at Santa Clara University, as well as in various universities in Latin America and Europe. She was the founder and Director of the Latin American Doctoral Program on Agroecology sponsored by the Universidad de Antioquia in Colombia and SOCLA. She is president of the Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology (SOCLA), a network of professionals to promote agroecological alternatives to industrial agriculture. Clara is the author of three books and numerous scientific articles about agroecology, ecologically based pest management, resiliency to climate change and rural development.

Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak runs the Devil's Gulch Ranch on the Northern California coast with her husband and children. At the ranch, the family focuses on raising winegrapes, pigs, sheep, and rabbits for meat and skins. Myriam is the International Program Director for DG Educational Services, Founder and director of HaitiCoffee.com, Inc and a USAID Farmer to Farmer Volunteer in Haiti and El Salvador with Partners of the Americas, Winrock International and HaitiCoffee. In Haiti, she has helped with Makouti Agro Enterprises, a small-scale agribusiness that unites farmers and promotes sustainable income generating agriculture

Maya Blow is an herbalist and classical homeopath practicing in the East SF Bay Area. She studied herbal medicine at the California School of Herbal Studies in Northern Ca. and completed four years of homeopathic medical school at the Institute of Classical Homoeopathy in San Francisco. Maya and her husband run a small organic farm where they incorporate both permaculture principles and biodynamic farming methods. They produce a variety of seasonal fruit and vegetables, medicinal herbs, pastured eggs, raw dairy products, and honey, as well as humanly raised meat. Their goal is to learn to be self-sustaining and tread lightly on the earth sharing what they learn with the local community, especially people of color. Besides her passion for farming and holistic medicine, Maya is an artist, mother of two, and avid crafter. She teaches nature studies, gardening, herbal medicine making and many other homesteading and DIY classes. She has been studying, practicing, and teaching art for two decades and continues to draw her inspiration from her love of nature. Some of her hobbies are gardening, animal husbandry, foraging for wild food, fermenting and canning, making herbal medicine, cheese making, and dying with plants.

Joelci Dannacena has been a militant organizer with The Landless Rural Workers Movement of Brazil (MST) sector of the MST for over twenty years, with degrees in economics and cooperative administration. Her main tasks have been the organization of agroindustries for the produce of agrarian reform settlements. She is currently hosted here in the Bay Area as one of several young organizers sent by the MST to deepen relations with US-based movements for food sovereignty, agrarian reform, and anti-oppression.

Shu-Chen Cheng ( aka “Suejen”) is transitioning from a career in nursing to becoming a small-scale farmer. Suejen spent her childhood selling her family's vegetables at the local market, helping feed hens and ducks and chasing pigs on her family's farm in Taiwan. When she was around 10, she writes "more and more factories moved in and less and less farmland remained. Clean rivers that I used to fish in turned yellow, and as time went on there were no more crabs, frogs or fish... I witnessed my family’s change from farming to industry. Now that I am 37 years-old, I want to be the one in my family who goes back to the life that I miss so much." Suejen has been a nurse for most of her adult life, and has seen first-hand the adverse health effects of pesticide use and a heavily industrialized food diet. She joined the MESA program this year as a start to transitioning into small-scale, organic agriculture. As the first MESA steward from Taiwan, she hopes to educate farmers in sustainable methods, and to share with her community the importance of supporting local farmers.

 

Reserve your tickets here! Space is very limited.
Tickets are $30
Discounted rates for beginning farmers and groups
Email michelle [at] mesaprogram [dot] org (Subject: Volunteer%20at%20Forging%20Farmers%20Event) (Michelle) for limited number of volunteer sign up opportunities.
Can't attend, but want to contribute? Your donation is greatly appreciated!
 
Thank You to our Event Sponsors and Donors:
The Acme Bread Company, Arizmendi Bakery, Berkeley Bowl, Frey Vineyards, Gordon Biersch Brewery, GreenLeaf, Lotus Foods, Lundberg Family Farms, Mechanics Bank, The Natural Grocery Company, Numi Organic Tea, Straus Family Creamery, and Trader Joes.
May 26, 2015 - 2:08pm
Michelle Roses Wight, Program Coordinator, michelle@mesaprogram.org, (510) 654-8858

We packed this year's orientation with an incredible diversity of activities in both San Francisco and Santa Cruz. Stewards from Haiti, Taiwan, Ecuador, South Korea, Grenada, Thailand, and Peru got a crash course in sustainable food systems with some of the workers, educators and farmers who are radically changing the way we grow, eat, and distribute our food. Let's re-cap some of the highlights...

Bay Area Art Movement and Urban Community Farms

Mural Walk SF

Our first day in the city, we took the Stewards on an art mural walk through San Francisco's historic Mission District. With arguably the most dense quantity of street art in the world, the Mission is home to a diverse population of artists, many of whom are immigrants or from immigrant families. A vast number of the murals express the emotions around globalization of the food system, the dismantling of indigenous traditions, capitalism, and the "free" market. To contrast these heavy lessons, we visited an all-volunteer run alternative food market called the Free-Farm Stand. Here we experienced the power of neighborhoods to organize and to freely share the bounty of local produce.

The following day, we travelled to the Gill Tract community farm in Albany and met some of the most active and passionate members. The Stewards learned about their struggle with the land owners to keep the farmland for farming, despite economic pressure to pave it over and sell it as commercial real estate. This type of struggle is universal, and it's an important issue in urban farming. That evening, we toured a nearby market who supports local farms and fairly traded produce—MESA's community partner, The Natural Grocery Company. Here, the group listened to farmers from the Chanchamayo Coffee Cooperative in Peru and to last year's Forging Farmer Community Changemaker recipient Pandora Thomas. The Stewards left the Bay Area with a fresh perspective on urban farms, markets, and distribution and were inspired by the strength of community resilience.

Santa Cruz Farms

Strawberries at CASFS

In Santa Cruz, we visited three diverse farms, learning from their experiences in on-farm education, agrotourism and workers' rights. First, we traveled to the University of Santa Cruz campus to speak with teachers at the educational Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) farm. Next, we discovered the innovative agrotourism and internship models at Pie Ranch. And finally, we harvested strawberries and learned about farmworker rights at Swanton Berry Farm. We spent the evening grilling veggie kabobs, eating berry pie from Swanton and enjoying the gorgeous California sunset on the beach.

All in all, a jam-packed and inspirational Orientation. Good luck this year 2015 Stewards!

 

Check out the photos

 

THANK YOU TO OUR 2015 ORIENTATION DONORS!

 

Food Donors:  Natural Grocery Company, Green Leaf, Acme Bread Company, Lundberg Family Farm, Berkeley Bowl

Gear Donors:  Patagonia, WomansWork

And our wonderful speakers and guides: Damien and Trisha from UC Santa Cruz Farm/CASFS, Bob and Carla Gerner, Marcelo, and Rosi at The Natural Grocery Company, Pandora Thomas from Earth Seed Consulting, Bear and Sam from Swanton Berry Farm, Nancy Vail from Pie Ranch, Pancho and Tree at the Free Farm Stand!

December 1, 2014 - 1:47pm
Lauren Augusta, Co-Executive Director, mesa@mesaprogram.org, (510) 654-8858

Upon return home to Ghana, Abraham promptly laid the groundwork for his own organization called "the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA)". Our recent Indiegogo campaign enabled MESA to send a $400 SPRIG grant to support Abraham's new NGO to reduce pesticide use, connect women rice farmers to markets, and diversify income for nomadic farming communities in some of the poorest regions of Ghana.

In Abraham's own words:

“Currently I am working with 36 farmer groups in 11 communities totaling 206 members in the West Mamprusi district of Ghana. These communities are among the most deprived regions in Ghana in terms of access to basic amenities (health care, water, schools and others) and yet this is a typical farming community (about 98% of population being farmers). I decided to work in this region because it is one of the regions where they have higher numbers of nomadic farmers and yet have adopted very inhumane ways of farming by the use of chemicals (I must say I was shocked to see banned chemicals such as DDT still been used here even for fishing!). 

I travelled on a canoe to this farming community where they are popularly known for their intense use of pesticides. There is a central point where farmers in the area all converge with their knapsacks for repair and maintenance by chemical distributors. During the visit I discovered these chemical distributors were there solely for profit. In addition to the absence of proper education on pesticide usage, safety measures or proper handling of these pesticides, no protective gear is sold to reduce the risk of hazards associated with pesticide exposure. The Center for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) had the privilege to talk to these groups of farmers on organic production and also the dangers of misuse of pesticides was also brought to light. Subsequently a ¼ acre maize demonstration field has been established and 206 farmers are involved in the management of the field together with technical advice from CSA. Next planting season farmers are expected to replicate these practices learnt via the on farm learning on their own fields and more farmers are encouraged to join to the train.

 

CSA is building women’s capacity in more sustainable, 

cost-effective rice production due to the relative expensive production cost of some major staple foods here in Ghana. Highly yielding varieties such as Togo Marshal was planted on a 16m*40m and managed by these women groups with supervision from CSA. Upon gaining knowledge, women farmers will be linked to financial institutions to access credit to produce rice and will be directly sold in CSA store for better markets for their labour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CSA is also helping diversify farmers’ sources of income. Exotic breeds of chicken have been introduced to interested farmers. So far, two training sessions have been held to teach farmers on the profitability and production of the poultry industry that is lacking in our rural Ghanaian farms. Farmers are beginning to see the importance of diversifying their income sources and have shown great interest in the idea been championed by CSA. These chickens are barely 3 weeks old at the time of writing this post. They will be kept for a period of 2 months by which time they have will acclimatize to the local conditions here and will be distributed to farmers and these farmers will serve as out growers for the project.“

November 6, 2014 - 12:51pm
Michelle Roses Wight, Program Coordinator, michelle@mesaprogram.org, (510) 654-8858

We are so proud to congratulate the 2014 MESA-US Stewards for completing their program. This dynamic group spent six-months doing hands-on training in sustainable farming around the US and came together to celebrate their accomplishments last month.

 

The group poses with Agroecology Professor Miguel Altieri (UC Berkeley) at his research farm plot in Downtown Berkeley. 

 

We took tours around some of the Bay Area's most active urban farm sites and food projects. Check out some more wonderful photos taken at some of the week's workshops, visits and activities. 

 

MESA Stewards pose with Bob Gerner of The Natural Grocery Company at the entrance of the beautiful Annex. 

 

Our 10th Annual Cultural Cuisine and Forging Farmers Fundraiser on Wednesday, October 22nd was also a huge success. In collaboration with The El Cerrito Natural Grocery Company Annex, we celebrated with around 100 of our closest friends and supporters. 

 

Rosi, Rolino, MESA Stewards and Guests all dance to the infectious rhythms of traditional Andean trio, Chaskinakuy

 

Congratulations to the 2014 Forging Farmers Award Recipients:

Forging Farmers Educator:

Anna Lappé is an internationally acclaimed author, educator and sustainable food activist. She directs the Real Food Media Project and co-founded the Small Planet Institute in partnership with her mother, Francis Moore Lappé. The Small Plant Institute supports grassroots democracy movements worldwide addressing the causes of hunger and poverty. Anna's recent book, Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork & What You Can Do About It, examines the inextricable links between our climate and the food system.

 

Forging Farmers Community Changemaker:

Pandora Thomas' life and work is rooted in creating a world where all people have access to empowering and hands-on environmental education experiences. Pandora is a certified permaculture designer and co-founded Earthseed Consulting, a holistic ecological advocacy firm deepening connections to the earth in diverse communities. Her current and past work with Pathways to Resilience, Environmental Service Learning, Global Women's Water Initiative, and Grind for the Green links critical issues in global human rights, youth empowerment and ecological, social and racial justice.

 

Forging Farmers Emerging Leader:

Isabel Quiróz is a 2013 MESA alumni from Aguascalientes, Mexico who completed her exchange at Golden Rule Mini-Farm in Willits, CA. Isabel focuses on the Grow Biointensive methodology and is passionate about food sovereignty and women leadership. She received a MESA Sustainability and Innovation Mini-Grant and is now developing three community gardens in Mexico in partnership with municipalities afflicted by high violence rates to improve food access, community collaboration and gender equality.

 

Forging Farmers Host Mentor:

As a longtime MESA Host Partner and former Board member, Bob Gerner and the Natural Grocery Company (NGC) have hosted MESA Stewards from Ecuador, Georgia, Peru, Sri Lanka and Thailand for experiential learning in organic produce marketing and worker-owned cooperative retail practices. MESA alumni from NGC have gone on to expand their own local marketing, partnering with small farmers and educating eaters about the value of sustainable production. Bob started the NGC in 1981 with the goal of providing wholesome food that tastes good. The NGC sells 100% organic produce and is committed to being GMO-free by 2018.

 

 

See more photos of the Cultural Cuisine Celebration night here

 

Thank you to the generous supporters who made this evening happen!

 

 

And to all the in-kind donors who also contributed to this evening

 

 

The Local Butcher Shop, St. George's Spirits, SF Ballet, The New Parkway Theater, BUILD Pizzeria, Synergy Organic Clothing, Catracha Coffee, Phil's Sliders, Devil's Gulch Ranch, Razan's Organic Kitchen, Dorsey Dog Leashes, de Yong Museum, Earth-In Canteen, Brazil Fresh Squeeze Cafe, Spicely Organics, Berkeley Bikes and Skateboards, Yoga Tree, Bee Healthy Honey Shop, Olica, Ke'ei Mauka Coffee, Cafesano, Adam Wight, Wild and Radish, Golden Rule Mini-Farm, Gather Restaurant, Ecology Action, Artis Coffee, Lotus Foods, Demart Denaro, Revive Foods, Outstanding in the Field, Five Points Fitness, Global Exchange, Mary's Organic Chicken, Merry C. Rose, Trader Joe's, Lundberg Family Farms, Berkeley Bowl, Bountiful Gardens, Planting Justice, CUESA.  

 

 

 

 

 

October 14, 2014 - 12:29pm
Michelle Roses Wight, Program Coordinator, michelle@mesaprogram.org, (510) 654-8858

 

Come support new leaders in sustainable food systems by celebrating

our 2014 alliance of global stewards!

 

Enjoy flavorful, multi-cultural tapas sourced from our local organic breadbasket and served by Executive Chef Damien Jones from the Natural Grocery Company Annex. Be inspired by the powerful work of MESA Stewards, Hosts and Educators. Sip on California's finest beer and wine while you persuse our silent auction boasting artwork from Bay Area artists, getaways to nearby attractions, gift baskets from local purveyors, and more!

 

We're thrilled to announce MESA's 2014 Forging Farmers awards!

 

Forging Farmers Educator:

Anna Lappé is an internationally acclaimed author, educator and sustainable food activist. She directs the Real Food Media Project and co-founded the Small Planet Institute in partnership with her mother, Francis Moore Lappé. The Small Plant Institute supports grassroots democracy movements worldwide addressing the causes of hunger and poverty. Anna's recent book, Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork & What You Can Do About It, examines the inextricable links between our climate and the food system.

 

Forging Farmers Community Changemaker:

Pandora Thomas' life and work is rooted in creating a world where all people have access to empowering and hands-on environmental education experiences. Pandora is a certified permaculture designer and co-founded Earthseed Consulting, a holistic ecological advocacy firm deepening connections to the earth in diverse communities. Her current and past work with Pathways to Resilience, Environmental Service Learning, Global Women's Water Initiative, and Grind for the Green links critical issues in global human rights, youth empowerment and ecological, social and racial justice.

 

Forging Farmers Emerging Leader:

Isabel Quiróz is a 2013 MESA alumni from Aguascalientes, Mexico who completed her exchange at Golden Rule Mini-Farm in Willits, CA. Isabel focuses on the Grow Biointensive methodology and is passionate about food sovereignty and women leadership. She received a MESA Sustainability and Innovation Mini-Grant and is now developing three community gardens in Mexico in partnership with municipalities afflicted by high violence rates to improve food access, community collaboration and gender equality.

 

Forging Farmers Host Mentor:

As a longtime MESA Host Partner and former Board member, Bob Gerner and the Natural Grocery Company (NGC) have hosted MESA Stewards from Ecuador, Georgia, Peru, Sri Lanka and Thailand for experiential learning in organic produce marketing and worker-owned cooperative retail practices. MESA alumni from NGC have gone on to expand their own local marketing, partnering with small farmers and educating eaters about the value of sustainable production. Bob started the NGC in 1981 with the goal of providing wholesome food that tastes good. The NGC sells 100% organic produce and is committed to being GMO-free by 2018.

 

 

We will be featuring the incredible trio, Chaskinakuy.
Multi-instrumentalists Edmond Badoux, Francy Vidal and Daniel Zamalloa bring traditional Andean music to life, performing the compelling melodies and infectious rhythms of high mountain festivities.
Equipped with an extraordinary collection of regional instruments that includes flutes and panpipes of bamboo, bone and feathers, goatskin drums, the 10-foot long Peruvian trumpet, violin, harps, guitars, mandolins and more, the trio explores musical terrain traveled by few. 

 

Reserve your tickets here. Space is limited.
Tickets are $50
Discounted rates for beginning farmers and groups
Email michelle [at] mesaprogram [dot] org for limited number of volunteer sign up opportunities.

 

Can't attend, but want to contibute? Your donation is greatly appreciated!

 

August 20, 2014 - 11:22am
Michelle Roses Wight, Program Coordinator, michelle@mesaprogram.org, (510) 654-8858

You did it! 
We Raised $31,078!

 

Our hearts are full with gratitude for your support, generosity, and encouragement. We started this campaign not knowing what to expect, and the collective action of 236 global citizens has been nothing short of astounding.

Thank you for supporting small farmers and aspiring food leaders. Thank you for creating a future of food to nourish people and the planet. Thank you for believing in us.

We'd like to extend a special shout out to JNSQ Project, Rhize Consulting and MESA's indefatigable staff, board, volunteers and in-kind donors who made this campaign possible. We couldn't have done it without you!

Together we'll move forward to exchange innovation, preserve ancestral heritage and deepen collaboration for build a more resilient, equitable and joyous food system.

Here's to you, us and the next generation!

 

Your support towards MESA’s scholarship program will go beyond changing one farmer's life.

Look at Peris Wanjiru Nderitu from Kenya.