In February I had the privilege to spend a couple weeks doing some training in Florida at ECHO (Educational Concern for the Hungry Organization). ECHO is a non-profit that supports agricultural development workers in 180 countries around the world, sharing seeds, information, appropriate technology, training and connecting people. They also have a demonstration and research farm in Ft. Myers, FL where I was able to spend some time meeting with staff, working with interns, studying in their extensive library and working on their farm. I was able to spend time researching the major crops that are grown in Ecuador and crops that thrive at high elevations. I learned about compost making, grant writing, conflict transformation, seed saving, making natural fertilizer and developed relationships with people on staff that I can draw from in the future. Kristina was able to join me during my last weekend there to meet everyone and see what I had been working on. It was a valuable time to gain new knowledge and expand our network of resources and community.
I was going to write a 14,000 word account of my experience but instead opted to post 14 photos to explain what ECHO is all about:
Learning how to graft trees! (Cleft graft with lula avocado scion)
Kristina on a bicycle rickshaw
A bamboo bicycle
Part of the demonstration farm at ECHO
Waiting for bread to bake in the wood burning rocket oven
Tomatoes that weren’t perfect enough for the market but still good enough to eat!
The miniature cow on the left is pregnant
Kristina chopping bamboo with a machete
learning to do bamboo construction with just a machete and knife
Feeding the ducks from my hand
This brick oven will have a giant metal pot on the top of it. It has many purposes- one of which is to process sugarcane to make molasses and brown sugar. Having access to this will help small scale farmers be able to process and sell their product on their own as opposed to having to sell to big companies who pay unreasonably low prices for the sugar cane
Home made hand tools using basic materials that can be easily found in most places in the world
Freshly planted rows, soil amended with worm castings