Earn a Global Agroecology and Local Food Systems Certificate! The US-based program is designed for aspiring or established farmers, recent agriculture graduates, and sustainable agriculture advocates from around the world. The cost to join MESA's Core Training and Certificate program is $3,850 USD (click here for more on program costs).
Program services, benefits and US living expenses include:
The Steward fee covers only a portion of the cost for the above program services, benefits and estimated US living expenses, averaging $18,500 USD per Steward for the 32 week program. MESA fundraises and charges monthly Host fees to cover the majority of each Steward's program cost.
Stewards nominated by a participating MESA Global Partner may apply for up to $3000 scholarship toward the $3850 US program fee.
First-time Stewards are encouraged to apply if your home country is represented among MESA’s current Global Partners.
If you don't see a Global Partner listed for your home country, you are welcome to apply by yourself. Carefully read the Steward Program Outline and Eligility Requirements before you submit your online Steward application (need application instructions in Spanish? Click here.)
MESA Stewards come with a wide range of expertise and life experience. Some work on family farms, others are leaders in their communities or are working toward advanced degrees in agroecology and similar disciplines. Many come from regions that have been in conflict for long periods, where the future of small-scale food production is uncertain. What MESA Stewards have in common is a desire to be exposed to the innovations in sustainable agriculture production and marketing in the US, and an eagerness to share social and agricultural traditions with their Hosts.
*enrolled University or college students must have five years of hands-on agriculture experience to qualify for the J1 agricutural trainee visa. The hands-on agriculture requirement for post-secondary graduates is one year.
MESA’s largest program described above. The Core Program is designed for international candidates seeking practical training experience with small-scale organic, biodynamic, transitional, and sustainable US farms and agricultural education and research centers. Read the Program Outline.
Example Hosts: Hoch Orchard and Gardens, Bobolink Dairy, Dripping Springs Garden
The NLP is only available to successful graduates of MESA's CTP who seek advanced agricultural skills, particularly in farm management.
Example Hosts: The Natural Grocery Company, Thanksgiving Farm at the Center for Discovery, Farm Fresh to You, Clark Farm
This program can be customized for individuals and Host institutions who have already established a training connection, and would like assistance with aspects of cultural exchange, visa documentation and temporary employment authorization, but do not need placement services. International applicants who have established relationships with US Host organizations should ask their prospective Host to contact MESA.
Example Hosts: Ecology Action, Organic Materials Review Institute
Want to learn more about the ITP? Click here for ITP-Frequently Asked Questions
If you are interested in becoming a MESA Steward, first determine if MESA has a Global Partner in your country. If you find a Global Partner representative for your country, please contact your home country representative directly to set up an interview. Individuals without Global Partner representation may apply for the CTP only if you have the funds to cover the US Program fee. If you have already been offered temporary work or an internship with a US placement. you may instead apply for the ITP.
Do you have questions about MESA's programs? Check the FAQ!
MESA also develops "custom-designed" programs for groups of agricultural professionals seeking specialized training related to organic certification, fair trade, farm advocacy, etc. or in organic export marketing/sustainable supply chain management. (Example hosts: Organic Bouquet, Organic Valley Family of Farms, Veriflora-certified wholesalers and nurseries.)
MESA welcomes inquiries from both non-governmental and government agencies. Please contact us if you are trying to arrange US training for your group of agriculturists.