Forging Farmers Awards
Since 2011, MESA has recognized leaders who are building resilient, equitable, and joyful food systems throughout the globe with our Annual Forging Farmers Awards. The MESA network, including Stewards, Alumni, Hosts and Board Members nominate several candidates each year in the following categories: Educator, Community Changemaker, Host Mentor and Emerging Leader. The candidates are nominated based on their involvement with the MESA network, their impact as a leader and innovator, and their projects advancing agroecology and the next generation. MESA presents the awardees with a hand-forged, engraved iron trowel during our annual Forging Farmers Event in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are deeply grateful for their contributions as luminaries and creators of change, and stand in solidarity of their vital work in the global grassroots food movement. Learn more about our past Forging Farmers award recipients below.
Clara Nicholls is a lecturer in the Latin American Studies department at the University of California, Berkeley, teaching “Perspectives for Sustainable Rural Development in Latin America”. She also teaches at Stanford University, Santa Clara University, and Universidad de Antioquia in Colombia and has taught at various universities in Brazil, Spain, and Italy. She is president of the Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology (SOCLA), which is a network of professionals to promote agroecological alternatives to industrial agriculture. Clara is the author of three books and numerous scientific articles about agroecology and rural development.
Abraham Yidana was a steward with MESA’s US Training Program in 2014, and since has created his own NGO “the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA)” in his home in Ghana. The goal of his work is to help farmers achieve food and income security through sustainable agriculture. Abraham’s Poultry Project has introduced diversified livestock farming to his community, adding another element to the traditional crop-production-based livelihood. This project focuses on improving local chicken breeds, training farmers in poultry production, and ultimately adding an alternate source of livelihood for farmers.