ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) is a non-profit, inter-denominational Christian organization located on a demonstration farm in North Fort Myers, FL. ECHO exists for one major reason, to help those working internationally with the poor, especially in the area of agriculture. The program provides help through education, innovative options, and networking.
Education: They offer internships and hands-on training and workshops
Innovative options: Seeds of underutilized crops and their technical response unit
Networking: Annual conferences/ community gatherings
It was extremely interesting to walk through the ECHO farm. The class was introduced to many “old-school” agricultural inventions:stoves, looms, water-purifiers, etc. from the nineteenth century. I connected many of the plants and ways of farming (permaculture) to the service learning hours that I performed at the FGCU Food Forest (meringa, jujubee, tomatoes, citrus fruits). It was nice to be able to take the information that I gained from volunteering and apply it to ECHO's message.
ECHO started off during the early 1980's. The farm that we visited was created with a land grant for global farming and they currently offer a seed bank, bookstore, and farm tours at their location on Bayshore Road. They are primarily and openly a Christian organization, which I find to be somewhat controversial for those who would like to volunteer to help other countries or simply take a workshop to start sustainably farming or gardening on their own. Religion really shouldn't have anything to do with wanting to help feed the world.
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