Certificate in Applied Agroecology

Want to gain a foundation in agroecology or deepen your on-farm experience? 

MESA’s interactive course provides the technical and theoretical toolkit needed to face our increasingly globalized food system. Drawing on agroecology’s ancestral roots in the Global South, you will gain an excellent foundation and join a global community seeking to build a just, agroecological future. 

For all interested farmers, students, educators, thinkers and doers.

Agroecology is a lens to understand and evaluate how different food and farming systems affect human culture and ecosystems.

Gain a holistic understanding of agroecology through 7 engaging Lessons, with particular emphasis on the socio-political connections within agroecology. The interactive presentation of indigenous practices, scientific research, historical data and individual case studies will enable you to analyze and ultimately begin to transform your own local food and farming systems.

Upcoming Cohort Dates

We’re updating our online platform this summer! Contact [email protected] to add your name / receive information about upcoming course dates!

By taking this course you will:

Deepen your knowledge of agroecology and sustainable food systems

Gain practical on-farm skills with a socio-political and economic lens

Add structure and merit to your hands-on farm internship or apprenticeship

Connect with MESA's global, multi-generational network of farmers, educators and mentors

Have the option to earn MESA's official Certificate in Applied Agroecology

How learning happens


Assess your knowledge at the beginning and end of each lesson to track your progress, observe assumptions, and build your own foundation of discovery and understanding.

Applied Activities

Each lesson includes an on-site Applied Activity, helping you analyze and apply new principles and practices while reflecting how different concepts relate to your own farm and/or food system.

Designed for You

Set the pace to shape learning around your busy schedule. Offering video, podcasts, discussion forums, readings and multimedia, this course is designed for all learning styles and paces.

Created in Community

MESA's Network

MESA initially developed the Applied Agroecology Course to augment our international stewards’ hands-on U.S. farm training experience. Enriched by contributions and resources from our amazing network of farmers, ranchers scientists, and community field experts across the world, we now proudly offer this course for online learners everywhere.

Farmers & Field Experts

With deep appreciation for contributions from pioneers in the ecological farming community.

Sponsors & Contributors

Made possible by generous support from Frey Vineyards,  Earls Organic Produce and Clif Bar Foundation, and materials contributed by UC Berkeley. California Farmlink, Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, Food First and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Certificate-track augments on-farm training and builds community, connecting you to MESA’s global network of agroecology experts, farmers, activists and change-makers. While all course materials are freely accessible, the paid Certificate-track provides access to MESA’s facilitators and the following benefits:

  • Assignments and Activities reviewed by a dedicated team of educators and mentors
  • One-on-one project review with a MESA facilitator
  • A cohort of international peers learning along with you
  • Invitation to help build and shape future course curriculum
  • An electronic or paper-mailed (lower 48 U.S. only) “Certificate in Applied Agroecology” from the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA). Based in Berkeley, California, MESA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization and J1 trainee (aka Steward) visa sponsor for aspiring global farmers.

Certificate Requirements

  • Complete 6 field based Applied Assignments
  • Complete 14 self assessments
  • Complete 6 of 7 Lessons*
  • Active forum participation

*While we encourage you to complete all 7, we understand your busy schedule and/or recognize that you may already be familiar with key parts of a specific Lesson. Hence, you may opt to skip one Lesson and still earn the Certificate.

A computer & high speed internet connection to download readings or watch videos; a farm or an open space suitable for doing the Applied Activities; your active imagination!

Yes! Overwhelmed with the daily realities of running a farm? Struggling to provide a meaning training and mentorship for your apprentices beyond a simple “learn-by-doing” approach? This course helps busy farmers offer more structure to contextualize daily activities for interns and apprentices. Offering the Certificate option and sharing or covering the sliding-scale fee will help to attract more committed interns and apprentices. 

Want to inquire about group rates for several interns? Email <[email protected]> to discuss your needs and explore options. Are you an intern interested in adding structure and a Certificate to your experience? Share this information with your host farmer/mentor or sign up today!

Course materials are highly applicable for farmers, interns, apprentices, person(s) serving farmers, college students, and anyone regardless of background. While accessible to many different learning backgrounds and styles, this course is currently tailored for those with a minimum of basic English reading and comprehension. 

You will need to choose a field site for the Applied Activities. While a farm is ideal for assessing ecological and social features of the land, you won’t need to physically alter the land. No access to a farm? You may instead opt to use a community garden, a park, or even your own backyard to fulfill your course requirements. 

All course materials are freely accessible for students wishing to audit without earning the Certificate.

To earn the Certificate and have access to an instructor along with many other added benefits, we offer a sliding-scale fee (see below).

Course fees help MESA pay for facilitators, staff time and tech support needed to maintain, monitor and provide feedback to participants, along with printing and mailing your Certificate (paper Certificate mailed only within the continental U.S.).

Our suggested sliding scale is:

$150 (suggested annual income bracket: $20,000 or less)

$250 (suggested annual income bracket: $20,000-$39,000)

$350 (suggested annual income bracket: $40,000 or above)

Please give the maximum amount you can afford to support MESA’s mission and to help make our materials accessible to more learners with limited incomes.


The Certificate-Track option begins on your registered start date. After that, the pace is up to you! Some learners have finished in 8 weeks, others take 6 months to a year. Your MESA Facilitator will be with you for the first four months to provide feedback, after that you have access to the course for one year and may continue to send your assignments to be tracked toward earning your certificate.

Email <[email protected]> We look forward to learning with you!

What our learners are saying

Earn a Certificate in Applied Agroecology

Join our global cohort of farmers, thinkers and doers working toward an agroecological future!

Get in touch

  MESA, Inc., P.O. Box 40113, Berkeley, CA 94704

email: [email protected]

*please include course name in Subject line