The Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA) recently launched an interactive Certificate in Applied Agroecology course to help grow and connect new agroecological farmers. The course provides a technical and theoretical toolkit to face an increasingly globalized food system and encourages collaboration of agroecological practices of on-farm activities.
“This course connects learners not only to the practical side of farming but to the international, socio-political context in which we are farming (and eating) today,” says Ana Galvis, one of the agroecology educators at MESA.
MESA is a nonprofit learning network intended for farmers and farm interns to broaden agroecological knowledge and practices. Since 1997, MESA has connected more than 1,500 farmers, activists, and advocates and helped start nearly 250 small-scale farms and food justice projects worldwide. MESA’s new curriculum deepens users’ engagement and commitment to an improved understanding of the realities facing small farms.
The online course provides learners with a holistic understanding and application of agroecology. It combines academic, scientific, socio-political, and traditional knowledge into seven lessons. A community of farmers, scientists, and local field experts, including Miguel Altieri, Professor of Agroecology at UC Berkeley, collectively created the lessons
MESA hopes the diversity of developers will appeal to new farmers and food supporters, and that the Certificate will add structure and merit to the work they are already engaging in. Meanwhile, participants develop an international and local network to enhance opportunities in their communities.
“More and more, we’re seeing a trend of young people increasingly attracted to sustainable agriculture as a viable profession, a path to serve their communities and a way to protect their natural resources,” says Galvis, “and we as educators must meet that need and create flexible, engaging options for them to succeed.”
MESA’s mission is to build the food movement to serve people and the planet. The organization stresses understanding the importance of civic engagement, value-based supply chains, and the interconnected global food system.
The Certificate in Applied Agroecology course is offered in three different seasons. The registration deadline for the next season is May 28, 2017. The course is fully available online, where learners can access the course materials for free anytime, or join a cohort to earn the Certificate. To register or learn more, visit: https://learn.mesaprogram.org/caap/ or contact [email protected] for more details.