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Welcome to the MESA ecoExchange Newsletter
August 2010
Hello [member_name_first],
We're already midway through the 2010 program year, and MESA is busy nurturing the global links between sustainable farmers. This is the season when relationships betweeen MESA stewards and hosts mature into lasting friendships. It's also the season when CSAs are in full swing and stewards are up to their hips in greens, melons, and tomatoes. MESA is growing too - this is the first edition of a new feature from MESA: a quarterly newsletter. Enjoy reading the new MESA ecoExchange!
Yours Truly,

Internships redefined: MESA Steward Kamolpatara Kasikam shows her potato harvest at Hoch Orchard and Gardens.
MESA and the Farm Intern Conundrum
The last six months have sparked much heat and debate about the legality of farm internships. Many of us are now familiar with cases of small farms that have been forced to comply with federal and state labor laws and fined substantial penalties for having interns.
Among the six criteria laid out by the U.S. Department of Labor defining the legality of internships, perhaps the most vexing for most small farms are these two: 1) The employer that provides the training must not derive immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and 2) The intern must not displace regular employees.
What are the solutions and alternatives to be able to continue vocational training for the next generation of farmers? Some farms are finding success through partnering with academic institutions and/or bonafide training programs like MESA. CUESA's article below (linked on Civil Eats) includes comments from MESA’s newest host, David Little of Little Organic Farm.

read more at Civil Eats


Host Sean Hagan and Steward Armando Huaroto weeding potatoes.
Soil Born Farms Joins MESA
Soil Born Farms, a prized addition to MESA’s 2010 Host Farm roster, truly elevates the role agriculture plays within an urban community.
They not only produce wholesome organic products, but have also positioned themselves as an educational center within the Sacramento community, hosting on-site classes on solar cooking, backyard bee keeping, habitat restoration, and environmental conservation and awareness.
MESA Steward Armando Huaroto recently wrote an article for the Soil Born Digest. Check it out!

more


Reunion in Riobamba, Ecuador
In June, program manager Leah Atwood traveled to South America to partake in MESA’s second Ecuadorian Alumni Reunion. Over 25 Steward alumni from eight different provinces made the journey to attend, traveling up to 12 hours to reach the central highlands of Riobamba.

more


MESA Invites Academic Study
Kudos to UCSC graduate student Kevin Cody for his recent grant award from the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS). His proposal? To "assess the potential to scale-up innovations in sustainable agriculture (SA) through a case study of the organization, Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA)."

more


José: Chickens & Roller-Coasters
José Ccalla writes: In this month, raising of chickens, turkeys and egg production remains very important to me, and I have plans to replicate it in my community. Our host also took us to Kings Islands Park of Cincinati in Ohio. There I saw and participated for the first time on a ROLLER COASTER...

more


CONTENTS:
MESA in the NEWS:
The Intern Conundrum
FEATURED HOST:
Soil Born Farms
MESA UPDATES:
Reunion in Ecuador
Academic Study of MESA
STEWARD BLOG:
Chickens& RollerCoasters

ECO-AG NEWS:
Immersed in Weed Season
Good Food in Schools

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There are many more MESA updates on our website. Check it out!
Eco-Ag in the News

Immersed in Weed Season
Growing for Market offers some tips and strategies for weed defense and prevention. "The first line of defense against annual weeds is cultivation. The ideal time to cultivate is when weeds are in what’s known as..."

read more at growingformarket.com


More Fruits and Veggies in Schools!
In a landmark vote, the Senate passed Michelle Obama's $4.5B Nutrition Bill targeted at reducing the US childhood obesity epidemic. Unfortunately the funding comes at the expense of the food stamp program (SNAP).
Washington Post says: "Last spring, a class of fifth-grade students from Bancroft Elementary School in the District descended on the South Lawn of the White House to help us dig, mulch, water and plant our very first kitchen garden..."
Politico.com says: "Put simply, it will get junk food out of, and put more healthy food into, America’s schools. It preserves the free and reduced-cost meals that many families depend on in an economic downturn..."

read more at Washington Post | Politico

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