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Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA)

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Agricultural Programs, Food, International, International Agricultural Development, International Exchange

Mission: ​MESA connects ​changemakers to transform the food system, linking ancestral knowledge with innovation to build earth stewardship, equitable economies and multicultural alliances worldwide.

Results: Over 800 aspiring international farmers trained in sustainable and organic agriculture production, marketing and advocacy with their U.S counterparts.

Target demographics: small-scale farmers, sustainable agriculture

Direct beneficiaries per year: 78 small-scale farmers and students connect across geographical boundries

Geographic areas served: Throughout the U.S., Northern CA, Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Thailand, Kenya, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Korea

Programs: MESA connects ancestral knowledge with innovation to empower the next generation of food and farming leaders.  MESA's participatory and cross-cultural exchange programs are designed to link sustainable food system pioneers and aspiring leaders for a learn-and-share exchange, experiential training and online education. Participation in MESA's online curriculum offers a Certificate of Global Agroecology and Local Food Systems. MESA offers programs in the US, Peru and Thailand for farmers and activists worldwide. Upcoming programs include Ghana, Sri Lanka, Ecuador and Mexico.

Community Stories

20 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Bill49

Board Member

Rating: 5

Over the past five years I've hosted four MESA stewards on my small farm for varying amounts of time. These bright, young people are excited to learn about sustainable agriculture and apply new knowledge when they return to their home countries. Besides the exchange of farming knowledge, the cultural experience of hosting each of these stewards is powerful! After having several experiences as a farm host, I was happy to accept a position on the MESA board. Knowledge is power and MESA does incredible work, promoting and enabling sustainable farmers on several continents. It is amazing that MESA impacts so many lives with an absolute minimum of paid staff! Later today I will meet yet another MESA steward who will be spending several months on my farm. I'm looking forward to yet another rewarding experience as a host farmer.

Comments ( 1 )

MESA Thank you so much Bill for your kind words and continuously amazing support!

Mayra M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had been blessed to be part of MESA as a participant in one of their programs, I loved it!! They help me a lot! I had one of the best experiences in agriculture that I had never imagined. Thank you MESA

Client Served

Rating: 5


MESA A HOPE THE LESS FORTUNATE IN THE WORLD
I am a Kenya in East Africa i wish to register my warm and hearty
gratitude to Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture for
the internship opportunity at Ecology Action in Willits, California.
This is a new paradigm shift which has re- united me with the whole.
And because of this Allow me define MESA as follows: Multinational
Experience Sharing Association. Why this because MESA is taking us
back to the Bible in book of Genesis chapter 2: 25 where God created
Man and gave him the first job description of an Agriculturalist and
placed him in a garden, then told him to "take care of the it" and not
to reap the lands resources without replenishing.
Training: The Grow Biointensive Agriculture(GB) method is a self
transformation and discovery method which is changing the heart and
mind thus helps us to claim back the lost the glory through its 8
principles. The major is building the soil through local available
materials. The technique's emphasis is to "Give to Nature, and she
will repay you in glorious abundance." Totally different from
conventional way we grew with feeding the plant. Amazingly nutritional
diet is the back borne of number of beds to prepare to meet your
personal diet and feeding the soil. Thanks MESA for Grow Biointensive
Agriculture = personal growth + soil growth + crop growth and then
well fed world.
Environment: The methods is taking care of the environment and kudos
to Americans for the clean and well taken care of towns, homes no
dumping but the term is use-recycle and re use. Am overwhelmed by big
forests and people are living in without interfering with ecosystem
instead are managing it. God bless Americans and America for taking
care of the Environment and lastly very disciplined motorists along
the roads.
Social: I have learnt a lot in different events like NOYO FOREST FOOD
a coordinated open learning day with different exhibitors who are very
passionate with their activities this was a big form for sharing
experiences. Then the potlucks and breakfast events which are bringing
people together for common goal thus a sense of belonging as a
community.
Culture: The interns from different countries like Togo, Nigeria,
Ghana, Kenya, Haiti, Canada and America this program a bee hive of
experience sharing from all the back grounds above. This is the center
of relationship building and promoting unity in the world.
Parting shot: The Grow Biointensive Agriculture is one of the
Ago-ecological methods of farming which promotes food growing in a
small scale area and the yields are 2-4 times higher. The methods is a
new paradigm shift to my life the organization am working for and the
entire Taita Taveta County community in Kenya. This is the technique i
am going to empower the drought stricken community with for it uses
less water and more yields in small area.
Lessons: Growing the soil, promote the Ago-ecological farming methods
for is a re- union with the whole, America the home of different
cultures. MESA LIVE LONG TO CONNECT MANY WITH NATURAL FARMING WHICH
REBUILDS HOPE A ND DIET WHICH IS HEALTHY AND SAFE. THANK YOU MESA FOR
ALLEVIATE HUNGER AND SUFFERING IN THE WORLD THROUGH ECOLOGICAL
AGRICULTURE THUS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . GOD BLESS MESA AND ALL
STAKEHOLDERS.

kakan84

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had such a great experience with MESA in 2014.
I was in the farm in Washington. The owner was 84 years old grandfather(That's how I call him), they treats me as a one of their family member, and taught me a lot, not only farming but also wisdom of life and positive mind.
It was one of my school program to have a field experience for 10 months, and MESA helped me a lot to match host farm.
They're really taking care of their stewards. I had many good educational opportunities thanks to MESA and encouraged me to participate SPRIG (Sustainable Projects Recognizing Innovative Growers program. Also, MESA helped me to take growing power's aquaponics workshop too.
I think sustainability is the most important thing as a student who studies agriculture and aquaculture, MESA helped me to be more assure of it.
I would recommend MESA to students in my school or anyone. You won't regret it!

1 Bill49

Board Member

Rating: 5

Over the past five years I've hosted four MESA stewards on my small farm for varying amounts of time. These bright, young people are excited to learn about sustainable agriculture and apply new knowledge when they return to their home countries. Besides the exchange of farming knowledge, the cultural experience of hosting each of these stewards is powerful!
After having several experiences as a farm host, I was happy to accept a position on the MESA board. Knowledge is power and MESA does incredible work, promoting and enabling sustainable farmers on several continents. It is amazing that MESA impacts so many lives with an absolute minimum of paid staff!
Later today I will meet yet another MESA steward who will be spending several months on my farm. I'm looking forward to yet another rewarding experience as a host farmer.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

MESA 10/20/2015

Thank you so much Bill for your kind words and continuously amazing support!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Three MESA stewards have been on my farm in the past three years. They have been some of the most cooperative people I've ever met. They all have had a very serious interest in sustainable food production and in learning more by practical application (WORK!). They have been a benefit to my farm and I believe we all learned valuable lessons together.
They also spent a lot of time with our extended family and will be considered friends for life.

Advisor

Rating: 5

This little-known non-profit in sustainable agriculture is transforming communities around the world by pairing U.S. farms and research centers with small farmers from countries around the globe. The impact of the resulting sustainabilty projects insmall communities, from food-poor regions of the Andes to the U.S. midwest, has been profound. This little powerhouse is securing the future of food for you and me. With its community focus and global outreach, MESA offers the best bang for your philanthropic buck. Bar none.

Maria Jose Romero

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Joining MESA program in 2006, definitely changed my life! I had the opportunity to share sustainable agricultural methods, learn about different kinds of markets and meet the most amazing people in Maine and other trainees from all over the world. That experience has been an important support to have better professional opportunities since then. The MESA staff is very kind and supportive and they make sure everybody has what they need in terms of learning and hands on experience. I definitely recommend MESA program, it exceeded my expectations!

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to consult as an advisor for the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture since its founding in 1992. A true grassroots organization founded to spread the growth of ecologically responsible farming by bringing small farms from different parts of the world together, MESA has been on the cutting edge of local, sustainable agriculture since before these terms have become bywords among non-profits and consumers throughout the U.S. Through the years, I have seen this program change lives, turn farmers into eco activists and entrepreneurs and bring diverse corners of the world together. This tiny organization has always been about local communities on a world-wide scale. I will continue to support it.

Krista Van Tassel

Board Member

Rating: 5

I first met MESA through Full Circle Fund, an engaged philanthropy organization in the SF Bay Area. MESA was one of our grantees in 2012 and I assisted with a project that helped them track and report on their impact as well as explore new funding models such as crowdsourcing and corporate partnership. I so enjoyed working with Leah and Lauren that I jumped at the opportunity to join their board in 2013. MESA does amazing agriculture and sustainability work with incredible global reach - and all with a very small team. I was impressed with their quality of programming, which provides hands-on learning and knowledge exchange for visiting stewards and hosting farmers. And I was further impressed with the reach of their network. I look forward to helping MESA refine their formal curriculum as the organization continues to grow both here in the states and abroad.

Chanin N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came to America to join MESA as a steward from Thailand in 2013. I didn't know what to expect ,many views about americans and the food industries situation. MESA helped me prepare to settle in the new territory with useful orientation in SF (lots of organic wine and beers!) calm me down a whole lot. My workplace is also amazing and offered broad kinds of experience. MESA is a very supportive, inclusive,understanding and well programmed. Facilitate and equip new future agrarian with more global view and weave the network of earth stewardship. This is the future! People come together - back to the land, work & play together ,learn and inspire each other. It was the healthiest and most balanced year of my life.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a MESA alum from 2004. I had the opportunity to experience two completely different organic operations, one in California's prime production areas - Northern San Joaquin Valley - and the other in upstate NY state - on the rolling foothills of the Catskills. These experiences allowed me to better understand American agricultural production, not only the organic/natural production systems but also to observe the neighboring conventional farms, which enhanced my view of the impact that industrial scale farming has on a global scale.
Needless to say I nurtured from the cultural exchange and my English skills increased significantly.

Overall it was a fantastic experience and opportunity for anyone that is in the Ag field.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We , Earth Net Foundation, have been the Thai global partner for the MESA programme for a number of years, sending young Thai farmers and aspiring farmers on the program to live and learn and share their own knowledge on organic farms in America. We have also organized one hosting program here in Thailand last year. Most everyone we have sent has come back enriched. Many have taken experience and ideas to apply here, and are now playing leading roles in the organic movement of Thailand. Being a legal J 1 visa program, it can provide access to those from developing countries to an American farming experience. As the stewards, both learn from and contribute much in labor and skills to the host farms, the net cost is very low, making the program viable for young farmers from developing countries to join.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Para mi la experiencia con MESA ha sido una de las mas lindas de mi vida, ya tenia previamente un trabajo sobre agroecología y soberanía alimentaria, pero el año que pase en California fortaleció esta idea o no solo como algo que quiero hacer en mi vida sino como la forma en que quiero vivir la vida, aprendía a cultivar alimentos en poco espacio y a ver formas alternativas de vivir, hice maravillosos amigos para toda la vida.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined MESA in 2013 as a intern focusing on the Summer-Peru program. Though a small organization, MESA has cultivated relationships all over the world, each with its own, inspirational story. It was a privilege to spend a week with the 2013 Stewards during their orientation in CA, and then amazing to meet the program's Alumni in Peru this summer. MESA is truly unique for its full-circle exchange model and its commitment to local, innovative, community-based, and culturally appropriate solutions.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My first connection with MESA was to host Juan from Peru in my home for the year he would spend in the US as a participant in the MESA program. Juan worked full time through the MESA program but did not stop increasing his learning with that. He spent time at the library, brought home videos to learn the the art of cooking and was always ready to lend a hand, join in an adventure and generally make the most of his time in the US. Juan has big plans and is grounded in reality. Clearly a special person, yet after attending some of the MESA dinners I found that those who are brought into the program are all as determined to maximize their potential for the benefit of their homeland. I learned much from Juan with a foreigners perspective on my culture. I am now hosting another MESA participant from Ecuador. What a great learning opportunity MESA provides for us in the US by bringing these amazing people here so eager to learn, share and build a better global society.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

MESA is an inspiring organization. Their focus on intercultural exchange between sustainable ag interested farmers and small-scale sustainable farms abroad is extremely valuable. Almost anyone you speak with who has studied abroad speaks about it as a defining and value-forming experience in their lives. MESA offers this opportunity and then supports these Sustainable Ag Stewards far after their exchange ends. In a world where farmers are disappearing each day, relocating to urban environments for work, this organization gives me hope that our food will be in good hands in the future.

Donor

Rating: 5

I was invited to a dinner to honer the recent Stewards who were about to return to their homes. I was blown away by the experiences they reported on and by the value their host farmers saw in the program. MESA is a tiny organization with a Huge impact.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The first time I joined MESA was in 2005 I was 24, I was farming in Oklahoma for eight months an that experience changed my whole life forever. I was growing organic veggis, cut flowers and medicinal herbs, that was very hard but at the same time very rewarding. As soon as I was adapting myself into a farm lifestyle, I start eating more healthy food, doing something good for my neighbor, and learning hands on experience about my own carreer: agriculture. That year was the key to develop a home country project in Ecuador related to support or empower local growers the next year with alternative technology, knowledge and some money. In the year 2008 a new advanced program was offered to me by MESA, Profesional Networking program, so I came back to learn more about organic flower industry in Miami, Organic Bouquet, I will be here for a year learning many important areas like Marketing, Quality assurance, Organic Certification, etc, hopefully the idea is to lead in the near future successful rural projects in Ecuador.

9

Client Served

Rating: 4

“MESA stewards have consistently been the most enthusiastic, thoughtful, and talented people I have worked with at my farm. This organization does an exceptional job recruiting international students of sustainable agriculture and matching them with U.S. host farms in a mutually beneficial learning situation. ” -Jason McKenney, Hidden Villa Farm manager

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can tell that after finishing this program I have learned a lot about myself, my weakness and skills. Now I am convinced that Ecuador has a lot of opportunities in agriculture. Social changes have to start from the base of every economic system, which is agriculture, and I think I can promote healthy agriculture and local consumption. Even though in the beginning I had to make a lot of effort in order to adapt and find my place comfortable, I have enjoyed my time here and I am sure that this experience is the kind of memory that is printed in my eyes and heart forever. I know that I have skills to become a farmer and work for my community. I believe in agriculture and the connection between the soil and the soul. The responsibility of growing food is enough to motivate me to dedicate my life to the fields and the people.