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Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture/MESA
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MESA Launches Online Certificate Course in Applied Agroecology
Berkeley, Calif. April 3, 2017 – In the next ten years, the face of farming will change dramatically. With the average age of US farmers at 58 years old, there is a dire need to seed a new generation of farmers, food system advocates, and agricultural educators. A Berkeley-based non-profit, Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA) is answering this urgent call to action. Drawing on 20 years of advancing just, agroecological systems, MESA has launched an interactive Certificate in Applied Agroecology course to help grow and connect new agroecological farmers, available completely online.
“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 Ana Galvis, one of the agroecology educators at MESA, “and we as educators must meet that need and create flexible, engaging options for them to succeed. This course is that and more - it’s unlike any other online farmer-training course in the world because it 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.”
Agroecology is a lens to understand and evaluate how different food and farming systems affect human culture and ecosystems. MESA’s online course combines academic, scientific, socio-political, and traditional knowledge in seven lessons, giving learners a holistic understanding and application of agroecology. The curriculum was communally created with contributions and resources from farmers, scientists, and community field experts, including Miguel Altieri, Professor of Agroecology at UC Berkeley.
Designed with busy farm-life in mind, the self-paced online format allows learners worldwide to adapt the pace to their own schedule, all while earning a Certificate. In this way, MESA hopes that new farmers and food advocates will be able to add structure and merit to the work they are already engaged in while developing networks to enhance their agricultural career opportunities in their home communities.
MESA’s mission is to cultivate a global grassroots network of food and farming leaders to revive community food systems, linking ancestral knowledge with innovation rooted in earth stewardship, equitable economies and multicultural alliances worldwide.
The Certificate in Applied Agroecology course is offered three times a year, with the next start date as May 31st. Learners can access the course materials for free anytime, or join a cohort by paying a sliding-scale fee to receive instructor support and earn the Certificate. To learn more, visit: https://learn.mesaprogram.org/caap/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.