ECHO serves as an information bank, and publishes studies and disseminates information for development workers and missionaries who work on the problem of global hunger and who promote sustainable agriculture in many parts of the world. ECHO’s information equips small scale farmers, missionaries and development workers around the world in developing nations to combat hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. ECHO also operates a demonstration farm in North Fort Myers where staff members grow tropical and other food plants and raise goats, chicken, ducks, fish and rabbits. The demonstration farm is divided into several sections that are engineered to match the climate and topography of different developing areas of the world. ECHO owns the largest collection of tropical food plants in the world.According to Dr. Price, nutritious plants grown for food in one part of the world can be grown successfully in other parts of the world, and ECHO’s information sharing model permits development workers to introduce these plants to farmers. ECHO provides agricultural and appropriate technology training and resources to development workers in more than 165 countries. Dr. Price described and showed pictures of plants such as chaya, katuk, garlic chives and winged beans that can be grown sustainably by small farmers.
ECHO’s information bank also contains information about sustainable farming techniques for different soils, varied water conditions, and different types of topography, as well as information about appropriate technology. And ECHO also has a seed bank. Development workers can contact ECHO for information and seeds for new plants that the development workers can introduce to small farmers in their destination country.
Dr. Price, a biochemist by training, cofounded ECHO with Dick Dugger, a successful businessman from Indiana. After ECHO worked in Haiti for several years on the problems of hunger, Dugger and Price started operations in North Fort Myers over 30 years ago. Dr. Price explained that the founding of ECHO, which marries science with a global ministry, answered the question “How can you use science to help the poor?” While ECHO began as a “think tank” that published papers and participated in studies by agricultural scientists, it now also trains interns who plan to work in urban gardening, or in improving agriculture in the developing world, in a 14-month program. The interns take their knowledge to their chosen work locations to assist in solving the problem of world hunger.
For more information about ECHO, visit its website at echonet.org.
Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island is a member of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs and membership is open to those interested in horticulture, floral design and environmental matters residing five months or more in Collier County.
Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island meets the second Monday of each month, October through March, at Wesley United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 350 S. Barfield Drive, Marco Island. Business meetings begin at 12:30 PM and programs begin at 1:15 PM. Calusa Garden Club welcomes visitors interested in our educational programs and visitors interested in membership. Contact the Garden Club at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the Garden Club’s website, calusa.org, or visit the Club’s Facebook page, Calusa Garden Club.