Certificate in Applied Agroecology (CAAP): Farm Locally, Connect Globally.
MESA is proud to announce our Certificate in Applied Agroecology Course Calendar for 2017! Sign up now for the start date that works for you and be part of one of our 2017 global cohorts of farmers, thinkers and doers working towards an agroecological future.
CAAP Cohort Start Dates for 2017:
March 1st, 2017
May 31st, 2017
November 15th, 2017
Course filling quickly – Register before November 12th!
CAAP Cohort Start Dates for 2018
(tentative, opening soon):
Feb 15, 2018
Register by Feb 12
July 19, 2018
Register by July 16
November 15, 2018
Register by Nov 12
Interest or have Questions? Contact us at [email protected]
Customized Cohort start dates (new!): Have a group of 5 or more? Contact us for flexible start dates – our instructors will work with you to set a cohort start date that works for you! Contact us for more details at [email protected]
About the Course
MESA’s Applied Agroecology course fosters co-learning networks via a dynamic educational platform. Our virtual classroom combines the theoretical with the practical to promote comprehension, synthesis, and sharing of agroecological practices through on-farm activities and projects. This course is especially geared toward beginning farmers and students seeking to connect with fellow learners, contextualize daily farm activities, and gain a deeper appreciation for agroecological practices, with particular emphasis on the socio-political aspects. Certificate-track enrollees will also receive personalized instructor feedback on assignments and earn a Certificate in Applied Agroecology to accentuate and complement experiential training.
What You Will Learn
This course combines academic, scientific, socio-political and ancestral knowledge in 7 lessons, giving learners a holistic understanding and application of agroecology. With roots grounded in social justice, this course has a particular emphasis on the socio-political pillar of agroecology. To support multiple learning styles, the material is presented in video, audio, visuals and readings. This self-directed, self-paced course enables learners to develop their own perspective, and directly apply theoretical knowledge through interactive on-farm activities.
Agroecology is a lens through which we can understand and evaluate how different food and farming systems affect human culture and ecosystems. This interactive presentation of ancestral practices, scientific research, historical data and individual case studies will enable learners to analyze and ultimately transform their own food and farming systems.
How Learning will Happen
- Farm-based Learning Activities
- At the end of each lesson, you’ll complete an on-farm activity that uses the knowledge gained during the last lesson. This allows you to reflect, analyze, and apply the principles and practices you’ve learned during the last lesson, and understand how the different concepts relate to your farm, food system and/ or culture.
- The course instructor will provide individualized feedback for Certificate-track enrollees to facilitate learning and/or to deepen inquiry on various subjects.
- In order to measure learning outcomes, you will assess your knowledge of a particular subject area at the beginning and end of each lesson. This develops self-directed learners, who are critically analyzing the materials, as well as your own biases, critical thinking and process of learning. Since agroecology can be different things to different people, we aim for learners to assess their own perspectives on these issues.
- Farm Maps
- Learners will create a multilayered map of their farm, whether it be a piece of land they have worked on, are currently on or hope to one day work on. Creating maps can help you apply your knowledge, and understand the relationships between all of the factors of your agroecosystem.
- At the end of each module, you’ll participate in a forum, either responding to or posing your own questions. Through these forums, learners from all over the world can compare ideas, share techniques, and co-create new knowledge.
- Live Chats & Webinars
- Our powerful social learning network includes live chats where you can chat live with each other and Instructors.
What You Need to Succeed
A computer & internet connection, a farm or an open space suitable for farming, and an active imagination!
Course materials are highly applicable to any farmer or to person(s) serving farmers, as well as to college students. While accessible to many different learning backgrounds and styles, this course is currently tailored for those who have a basic knowledge of English.
When I signed up for the Applied Agroecology Program with MESA, I really wasn't sure what to expect. By the time I had finished the first lesson, however, I was hooked -- it's incredibly informative, well-written and gives a great amount of supporting information in each lesson. Learning about the politics affecting food production globally is something that wasn't granted to me in a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. I'm so thankful to have been linked with a program that aligns with my values, and has brought me to what I've wanted to learn about for so long.
About the Certificate
Certificate-track enrollees must complete all activities to earn MESA’s Certificate in Applied Agroecology.
Why choose the Certificate-track?
Our Certificate Program is offered at a sliding scale of $150-$350 depending on your means. While all course materials are open to the public for free, it is by joining the Certificate-track that you’ll gain access to our expert MESA instructors as well as receive the following benefits:
- Assignments and Activities reviewed by a dedicated team of educators and mentors
- One-on-one project review
- Office hours access with MESA instructor
- A cohort of international peers that will be learning with you
- Accident and Injury insurance if you have a farm-related medical claim (U.S.-based farms and U.S. residents only)
- Invitation to help build and shape future course curriculum
- An electronic or paper-mailed (lower 48 U.S. only) “Certificate of Applied Agroecology” from the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA, Inc.). MESA is an U.S. Department of State-designated training and cultural exchange program and a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization based in Berkeley, California
- Complete 6 field based Applied Assignments
- Complete 14 self assessments
- Complete 6 of 7 Lessons*
- Active forum participation
*We encourage you to complete at 7, however, we understand you are busy and there is a lot of material, or you may already be familiar with parts and may choose to focus on other Lessons. So, you may choose one to skip if you are time-restricted and still graduate.
- Share more about yourself!
- What is Agroecology?
- Foundations of Agroecology
- Understanding Food Sovereignty
- Traditional Farming Under Threat
- Social Movements: Resistance and Regeneration
- La Via Campesina: Who Defines Agroecology?
- Listening to the Grassroots
- Applied Activity Part 1: Farm Map
- Industrial Agriculture: Consequences and Alternatives
- Myths and Root Causes of the Global Hunger Crisis
- Distribution, Access & Equity
- Consolidation of Power in the Global Food System
- Relocalizing Food Systems
- Gender and the Food System
- Food Workers, Food Justice
- Building an Autonomous Food System
- Applied Activity Part 2: Natural History
- What is an ecosystem?
- Ecosystems: Terminology and Levels of Organization
- Energy Flow, Food Webs & Food Waste
- The Importance of Biodiversity
- Resistance and Resilience in Agroecosystems
- Designing Sustainable Agroecosystems
- Applied Activity Part 3: Farm Resilience Evaluation Using Indicators
- How's it going? Course Check-in Survey
- Indigenous Land Rights
- Connecting Cultural and Biological Diversity
- Re-valuing Biological Diversity
- Traditional Soil Classification
- Soil Physical and Chemical Properties
- Soil and The Carbon Cycle
- Soil Ecosystems: The Soil Food Web
- Agroecological Practices for Healthy Soil Ecosystems
- Applied Activity Part 5: Soil Tests for Indicators of Sustainability
- The Water Cycle in Ecosystems
- Climate & Weather
- Water Deficits: Irrigation and Agroecosystem Management
- Managing Excess Water in Agroecosystems
- The Global Water Crisis & Global Warming
- Water Rights, Water Justice
- Water Grabs
- Applied Activity Part 6: Sustainable Water Management in Your Agroecosystem
- History of Pesticides and the "War Metaphor"
- The Pesticide Treadmill
- Socio-political Consequences of Pesticide Treadmill
- The World of Pollinators
- Methods for Managing Insect Pests
- The History and Impacts of Herbicides
- Wild Plants: Rethinking Weeds
- Weed Management in Agroecosystems
- Applied Activity Part 7: Globalized Food Systems and Farmer Interview
- Final Survey