MESA is a non-profit organization based in Berkeley, California. MESA's mission is to cultivate a global grassroots network of food and farming leaders dedicated to transforming community food systems. MESA is designated by the US Department of State to sponsor agricultural "trainees" on a J1 visa in the United States for up to one full year.
MESA is not funded by the US government. Our exchange program is funded by Steward and US Host fees, small foundation grants, and individual donations.
*** SPECIAL NOTE FOR AFRICAN AND EASTERN EUROPEAN NATIONS: In recent years, the majority of our NGO's exchange candidates from Africa, Nepal, and parts of Eastern Europe have been denied visas. This is due to U.S. Consul bias that J1 visa applicants will not return home. This is a very unfortunate -- but not entirely unfounded -- bias throughout most of the developing world; one that MESA regrettably cannot overcome.
For this reason, if you're from a developing country with high risk of visa rejection, PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT THIS FORM; IT WILL NOT BE PROCESSED. We are a small non-profit; we do not have the resources to expend on candidates whose chances to receive visa authorization are far below the average of candidates from other parts of the world.***
MESA has a very limited capacity to partner with new representatives and countries. MESA's Global Partners (NGOs) and Representatives (for-profit companies and/or individual MESA Steward alumni) are ALL expected to have:1) Resources (meeting space, phone, internet, etc.) to recruit, interview and help prepare eligible candidates for MESA's US program and apply at the US Embassy for the J1 visa;2) Strong connections with farm communities and/or agricultural institutions, and interest in promoting sustainable agriculture;3) Excellent and verifiable professional references;4) Access to grants or resources to help financially-limited candidates pay MESA's full program fee, round-trip international travel and Embassy fees.
Lastly, MESA does not partner with individuals with no prior connection to our organization. If you are applying for yourself to represent our program but don't have any direct affiliation with MESA, we are unlikely to respond or approve your request.
Please proceed only if you are confident that you meet all of the above criteria!