Program Details

Program Components

Hands-on training:

The 12-week program gives participants 150 hours of on-site, hands-on training in agroecology, aquaponics, organic farming, nursery production, distribution and marketing, business planning, accessing land and working capital, water harvesting, soil building, and other aspects for food and farming operations. Much more than technical training, the program integrates popular education pedagogy into each module with topics ranging from decolonizing our diets, race and gender in the food system, and global social movements. The course offers learning opportunities with experienced farmers through site visits and guest lectures. Our curriculum includes visits to Planting Justice’s new 2-acre aquaponics farm and organic tree nursery in East Oakland, as well as various local and successful ecological farms in MESA’s network. Transportation will be provided.

Online learning:

These experiential hours are complemented by multimedia online curriculum on MESA’s Farm-Centered Learning Network for Social Change which considers the technical, business, ecological, political, social, and spiritual considerations of farming. Laptops are loaned to participants for completion of the online curriculum.

Long-term support:

Launching a sustainable farm business requires support, guidance, and access to resources. Long-term support of participants after the three-month training period includes: paid apprenticeships on farms in the MESA network; living-wage employment with Planting Justice; and/or ongoing legal, technical, and financial support to access land and launch food and farm businesses and nonprofit organizations contributing to food justice, thriving local food economies, and sustainability.


Agroecology Educator Paul Rogé coordinates this comprehensive program including experiential learning, site visits, participatory presentations, anti-oppression trainings, online curriculum, and ongoing mentorship support.

For more information or any questions on the program, please email: train at mesaprogram dot org