Learn with MESA’s international network of farmers and farming advocates through community workshops in agroecology.

Herbal Salves and Tinctures

Introduction to Herbal Medicine with MESA Steward Mariana Pelin Villani and Planting Justice Permaculture Designer Alejandra Cano. Learn how to grow your own herbs or harvest them in the wild, then learn how to turn them into medicinal products for you and your family. This workshop is part of our Bay Area Farmer Training Program (BAFT), and community participants will be able to work alongside BAFT students.

Workshop date: Friday, September 16th from 1:30-4pm
Location: Trinity United Methodist Church, Fireside Room.
2362 Bancroft Way, Berkeley CA (downstairs from the MESA office!)
Cost: Free! Donations optional.
Register on Eventbrite

In this hands-on workshop, you will learn about common herbs and plants and their medicinal use, with an insight about their properties and how to manage your garden, how to harvest and how to make them into medicine. We will talk about the different types of herbal medicine, infusions, tinctures and salves, and how to make them in your home. At the end we will make a salve and everybody will take home a 2oz container with wonderful medicine.

Urban Goat Keeping and Cheesemaking Workshop kidsmilking

Fresh Farmers’ Cheese and Chevre making workshop celebrating spring and new mamas with MESA Directors Leah Atwood and Michelle Wight.

Next workshop date: TBA

Ever considered the possibility of raising goats in your backyard? Come hear about Leah’s experience raising goats in an urban setting, and on a start-up farm. Say hello to mama-goats, Tessa, Chestnut and May Daisy, the stars of the workshop, mmmaaaaaa! Watch and learn how to to make delicious fresh goats’ milk cheese, and sample a few different flavors.

Even if you aren’t planning on becoming a goat farmer, this hands-on workshop will teach you the techniques of basic fresh cheese making that you can do right in your kitchen with store-bought milk. 

This workshop is designed for beginning cheesemakers, cheese eaters, and anyone interested in goats! All ages welcome.


Jump Start your Summer Garden with MESA Host Farmer and Board Member Bill Nunes

Next workshop date: TBA

Ready to get your garden in gear for summer? Now is the time! Come learn with MESA Host Farmer and Board Member, Bill Nunes, at his farm Contented Acres Produce in Gustine, CA. The workshop will cover: Methods to encourage early and longer production:

  • Variety selection
  • Indoor sowing
  • Potting up
  • Buying started plants
  • Soil covers
  • Plant and row covers
  • Planning a succession of varieties to continue main season production

This workshop will include demonstrations of: Starting seeds indoors. Potting up. Transplanting greenhouse grown (or purchased) vegetable starts into the garden. Making and using simple and inexpensive covers to encourage early plant growth. All participants will go home with seeds and starts!


Introduction to Natural Beekeeping with Si Thacker and Leah Atwood

Next workshop date: TBA

What is natural beekeeping and how can you get started in hosting your own happy hive? Come learn about options for backyard beekeeping and the differences between warre, top bar, and langstroth hives. Caring for bees will increase pollination and production in your garden, as well as supply your household with occasional sweet treats from extra honey production.

After the workshop, you will have a greater appreciation for the ecological role of bees in our environment, and for their work within human agricultural systems. You’ll also have an understanding of the honeybee lifecycle, and the best methods for you as a bee caretaker to support small-scale colonies. We will also cover basic hive design so you can be ready to build your own hive and/or find out where and how to order supplies.

Si Thacker has been working as a professional bee caretaker and hive builder for the last 8 years and is passionate about spreading bee education and awareness. Si co-founded Honey Bee Allies to help improve communication and create a new culture among beekeepers. Last year he shared his work with MESA Stewards and is thrilled to work within the international MESA network of farmers and agroecologists. Leah Atwood, MESA’s Director of Programs and Development has cared for bees for 4 years and is especially interested in traditional hive forms and beekeeping practices around the globe.