Echo is a non-profit inter-denominational Christian organization that is working towards fighting hunger and improving the lives of poor. Their vision is to honor God through sustainable hunger solutions. They are accomplishing this by providing access to ECHO documents, supplying seeds, and teaching appropriate agricultural techniques to farmers in poor countries who are living in difficult growing climates. http://www.echonet.org/
ECHO works in 180 different countries. Their main office and demonstration farm is located in North Fort Myers, Florida. To provide education and training, ECHO has an internship program and teaches workshops. They host an annual conference for networking. Echo earns income through their bookstore and nursery. For running the demonstration farm, ECHO has 30 permanent staff and 200 volunteers who are currently involved. Echo also accepts donations for use in operating their mission.
The photo to the left is the plant nursery which showcases a variety of plants available for purchase. Pictured to the right is the fruit cart lined with a selection of tropical fruits including star fruit, papaya, and others.
The Global Village demonstration farm at ECHO simulates different climates including hot humid lowlands, tropical highlands, tropical monsoon, semi-arid tropics, and an urban garden setting. The ECHO farm is located on 50 acres of land.
ECHO has integrated tropical sheep, goats, Naked Neck Turken chickens (looks like a turkey due to its “naked neck”), ducks, tilapia, and rabbits into its Global farm. The ducks and tilapia are raised in the same environment. Ducks are reared in a wooden complex that is raised over water (pictured left). The duck’s waste produces growth of phytoplankton and algae in the lake. The tilapia then feed on the algae.
For an insecticide in foreign countries, the leaves of the Neem tree are soaked in water and then used as a pest repellant on plants. The leaves can also be used to prevent tooth decay. Seeds can be ground to create oil used for healing skin disease. Neem can be purchased through the internet or at a Home Depot store in the US.
Worms are reared in various containers ranging from plastic bins to old rubber tires. Worm tea and casting provide nutrients that can be applied to crops. Extra worms can be used for fishing in poor countries.
In rainy climates, raised beds can be incorporated to supply drainage and improve the soil’s fertility.
Vines such as cucumbers and beans are provided additional support through the use of sticks and branches. These supplies are readily available in foreign countries.
Water availability can be a problem in the dry climates of some countries. To solve this a bucket drip irrigation system can be set up. It can be elaborate or simple depending on the supplies available.
In the urban garden demonstration, rooftop gardening is applied to make use of space.
A variety of containers were put to use in the demonstration farm. Ranging from rubber tires to plastic bins.
Mulching can become an exciting experience when old items regained new life. Plastic bags, pine cones, pop cans, and pebbles were all incorporated for mulching.
For more about tour hours go to http://www.echonet.org/content/tours