Bay Area Farmer Training Program

In collaboration with the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture (MESA)

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*Applications are currently closed. 
Stay on the lookout for updates on applying to the next cohort! 

About the Program

The Bay Area Farmer Training (BAFT) program is in collaboration with MESA and provides educational training and tools for a new generation of farmers in California’s Bay Area to create socially-just, ecologically sustainable and economically viable urban and peri-urban farm businesses.

This program supports immigrants, refugees, formerly incarcerated, and under-resourced beginning farmers in having strong voices to lead their communities towards thriving, equitable and resilient food systems.  In partnership with local farms, educators, and activists, BAFT is a comprehensive program featuring experiential learning, site visits, participatory presentations, anti-oppression trainings, online curriculum, and ongoing mentorship support for those who aspire to farm as a career path.

The Bay Area Farmer Training Program has a strong hands-on educational component. The course offers learning opportunities with experienced farmers through site visits and guest lectures. Our curriculum includes visits to Planting Justice’s organic commercial nursery in East Oakland, as well as various local and successful ecological farms in MESA’s network. Transportation will be provided, as will laptop chromebooks for completion of the online curriculum.

This program offers new farmers the opportunity to learn agroecological farm and business management. Diverse topics include aquaponics, nursery production, sustainable livestock care, business planning, marketing, product distribution, access to land and capital, and the socio-political forces that shape the ways that each of us relates with food, and more. The Bay Area Farmer Training Program includes long-term support for new farmers after the three-month training period.

Some successful graduates will be given the opportunity to be mentored by pioneering local farmers through 3-6 month paid apprenticeships on farms in the MESA network, receive living-wage employment with Planting Justice with their landscape design team or at their farm, nursery, or education team, and/or provided ongoing legal, technical and financial support to access land and launch farm businesses!


Our 5th Cohort took place June-Sept 2018.

The 3 month course had a sliding scale cost between $350 and $800. People coming from vulnerable backgrounds such as immigrants, the formerly incarcerated, refugees, and underserved beginning farmers could apply to receive scholarships, as well as a $500 stipend for transportation and food while taking the course. 

If you’d like to receive updates about the program, sign up for our mailing list. For more information or any questions on the program, please send an e-mail to