TAAP & UC Merced Partnership – Andy Hernandez Highlight

MESA offers a 9-week Introduction to Agroecology course that serves as a stepping stone for the Fellowship in Applied Agroecology.  There is a growing need and visibility for multilingualism in food system spaces, and in response we have created a bilingual introduction to agroecology course.  We are excited as this created a space where students are free to write, present and ask questions either in English or Spanish during the weekly virtual sessions.  Course topics include urban agriculture, seed defense, ecofeminism, integrative pest management, popular education, campesino & indigenous knowledge, among the other 30 focus areas.  MESA’s Education Director, James Sarria, piloted the bilingual course with a group of undergraduate and graduate students at the University of California – Merced.  Andy Hernandez is a current third year undergraduate student studying Environmental Engineering, and is one of the student leaders of the Natural Resources & Ecology Association at UC Merced.  Andy is responsible for bringing MESA’s programming to UC Merced after attending a community workshop at one of MESA’s USDA grant partner sites at the Center for Sustainability Food Garden at Cal State University – Northridge.

“Most of my academic training and professional experience has been included in tech, energy renewal projects, tech stuff.  I have my own garden and maintain my own compost system; my passion lives in agriculture.  From the dirt to the plate is something that I have a passion for, but I don’t get to express it that often in my academic training in engineering and mathematics.  In the future, I’m leaning towards specializing in geospatial analysis or policy.  This course has helped me to prepare for an opportunity (I hope to be accepted into) in Morocco to study life-cycle analysis.  I can’t thank you enough for providing such an inviting and open learning space for students to grow and prosper. I can’t wait to see how this course’s teachings will ripple across all the great things my peers will take part in.”~Andy Hernandez

After UC Merced students complete the introduction to agroecology course, they will have a chance to join the next TAAP cohort as a fellow in applied agroecology.  The fellowship provides additional program mentorship, and guidance to complete 80-hours of self-paced learning in agroecology, farming & food systems.

Emily Gomez (L), Andy Hernandez (C), Melissa Quintana (R)

If you would like to join one of the future cohorts, please review our website  – mesaprogram.org, Instagram @mesaprogram for future start dates for TAAP of our program opportunities.