ECHO exists to improve the abilities of community development workers assisting poor farmers by providing useful, important information and by networking their skills and knowledge with one another. We also provide hard-to-find beneficial food plants and seeds.
ECHO understands that there is a wealth of agricultural knowledge among the poor farmers we seek to assist. As such, ECHO does not "teach" people how to farm. Rather we work to make farmers more effective at growing food-producing crops under harsh conditions. We do this in a number of ways:
ECHO Development Notes (EDN) and other publications
Information on frequently requested topics, particular crops with high potential in harsh conditions, appropriate technologies, etc. are published in ECHO Development Notes (EDN) - a highly regarded technical bulletin sent quarterly to agricultural development workers, missionaries, teachers and scientists overseas.
ECHO has compiled the first 50 EDNs into a book called Amaranth to Zai Holes, or the A-Z Book, which is available online, and in both book form and on CD for purchase in ECHO's Bookstore. The issues of EDN that have been published since the A-Z Book, are also available. Also, issues of EDN are posted on this website. Other information has been published in single subject format in ECHO Technical Notes and Plant Information Sheets.
|Velvet Beans in Ghana|
ECHO's Seed Bank
One of ECHO's best-known programs is to send free, trial packets of seed to international development workers, community leaders and missionaries. ECHO's seedbank contains over 335 varieties of hard-to-find food plants, multi-purpose trees, fruit trees, and other tropical crops. These plants hold special potential for producing under difficult conditions -where it is too dry, too wet, or too hilly for most crops.
Overseas development workers and missionaries who receive seeds report back to ECHO on performance and acceptance of the plants in their conditions. This information is kept in ECHO's seed database and often shared in EDN. In some cases, a pack of 10 seeds has multiplied into thousands of plants or helped introduce a new crop into several parts of the world.
We invite you to learn more about ECHO's Seed Bank.
The Technical Response UnitSeveral staff members, called the “Technical Response Unit,” spend a considerable amount of time researching replies to problems or questions from our network. Staff and people studying at ECHO make heavy use of our specialized library, which contains thousands of books and other publications including many that are out-of-print or hard to find.
Contact ECHO's Technical Response Unit.
Resources for Urban Gardening
Over the years one of the most innovative areas of study at ECHO has been producing food in the urban setting. The key challenge for most city dwellers is to find a safe place to garden. ECHO's co-founder, Dr. Martin Price, has developed several methods suitable to rooftops, above-ground situations and small spaces. That information is now available in the Urban Gardening section of this website.