Summer Deals for Families at ECHO's Global Farm

FORT MYERS, Fla. (May 22, 2019) – This summer the ECHO Global Farm is offering special tour rates for families. Bring your entire family for a maximum cost of $30. Applies to parents of, and accompanying, children under 18 years of age. OR, from June 1 through July 31, visitors may bring a child, 12 years old or younger, for free. One child will be admitted free per one paid adult tour ticket when you mention this promotion.

On June 15 & July 20th, join us for a the third annual Family Fun Farm Tours! These tours are especially designed for families with kids ages 5-12. Families will participate in activities that teach how all the resources in the world are shared, and what amount of the earth's surface is usable for food production. Special discussion questions will help you contextualize world poverty and food security in ways your child will understand, making your family a stronger force for good in the world. Space is limited. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 239.567.3301

Or, join us at 10am on the first Saturday of each month for the Summer Garden Workshop Series! This event is free! Find more information here.

Experiencing the farm through the eyes of an earthworm! ECHO’s Global Farm is full of educational opportunities for young and young at heart!

Experiencing the farm through the eyes of an earthworm! ECHO’s Global Farm is full of educational opportunities for young and young at heart!

ECHO's Global Farm Tour is a fascinating guided, walking tour of the most creative working farm you have ever experienced. Along the way you will find unique demonstrations, plants, and techniques useful to farmers and urban gardeners in developing countries.

Experience the seven settings of the Global Farm which feature crops, techniques, and animals from around the world. Goats, chickens, ducks, fish and rabbits are all found on our farm; and ECHO is home to one of the largest collections of tropical food plants in the United States.

You won't want to miss the demonstrations in our Urban Garden, a perennial favorite, which features some wacky, yet effective ways to grow crops where there is little or no soil.

After the tour, stop by our global nursery and take home some of the tasty edibles that you sampled on your tour. While supplies last, papaya plants are 20% off and and strawberries are 25% off.

Our Global bookstore features hundreds of fair trade items, books, gifts, honey, and much more.

Visit the market garden on Friday mornings for in-season local produce!

Visit the market garden on Friday mornings for in-season local produce!

ECHO Global Farm Tours are offered Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at 9:30 am.

For tour times and additional information, visit the website at www.echonet.org or call 239-543-3246

A Day in the Life of an ECHO Intern

Interns have been a long-standing legacy at ECHO.
— Maddie Christy

From the moment one arrives to ECHO’s Global Farm, you discover that the interns are an integral part of ECHO’s mission. However, many wonder: What do the interns actually do? What role do they play at ECHO? What do their lives look like during their 14 months here?

Interns have been a “long-standing legacy at ECHO,” according to the Florida farm’s storytelling intern, Maddie Christy.

In the early stages of the organization, ECHO’s founding CEO, Dr. Martin Price, hired a recent college graduate who was intrigued with international development to serve for one year as an intern.

The internship was meant to give recent graduates a chance to get hands-on experience, and become well-equipped in agriculture, before entering the mission field. To no surprise, the internship was a success! ECHO added two new interns in 1985, and by 1989, ECHO had acquired six interns on their staff.

Pictured above: ECHO interns working on Global Farm

Pictured above: ECHO interns working on Global Farm

The internship program has been thriving ever since, now hosting 8 interns at a time. This Spring in 2019, ECHO welcomed their 257th intern onto the staff! In an attempt to capture the daily life of an ECHO intern, Maddie Christy, our storyteller, gives us the closest inside scoop thus far, about what goes on in a typical day on ECHO’s Global Farm, in the eyes of Elizabeth Casey—an ECHO intern

This Spring in 2019, ECHO welcomed their 257th intern onto the staff!
A Day in the Life of our ECHO interns!

A Day in the Life of our ECHO interns!

THURSDAY

7:20AM

Most interns are scrambling around the house getting ready for the day. Some reach for tea, coffee, or just a few mangoes. Elizabeth settles for some scrambled eggs—fresh from the chickens on the farm!

7:30 AM

The first important meeting of the day is just a few feet outside the front door, in the courtyard between the intern homes. Everyone gathers closely together to listen for important reminders for the day, plan for lunch, and most importantly, take time to pray and reflect before conquering a long day.

8:00 AM

The meeting ends, and the interns routinely split off to fulfill their morning duties. Elizabeth’s first stop is to re-check and record the total rainfall for each day. Elizabeth is referred to specifically, as the “monsoon intern.” In other words, it is her responsibility to track the water the Farm collects each day, and let others know the total so they can account for it in their work.

Heading off the the main chicken coop, Elizabeth opens the main latch to release the chickens inside. They will stay out for most of the day, only returning to the coop when Elizabeth approaches with feed.

Onwards toward the other side of the Farm, Elizabeth heads straight to duck and tilapia pond. She allows the ducks to scurry out before shutting the door behind them. Here, she rinses off the deck and collects any eggs the ducks may have laid the day before. After this is done, she fills the feeder with plenty of food and watches as the ducks hurry back in to devour their breakfast.

9:00 AM

With most of the morning side-work complete, Elizabeth is now free to focus on her individual tasks for the rest of the morning. These tasks often include weeding, planting, or completing a project. Interns are also able to request help of ECHO volunteers during this morning time slot! On this day, Elizabeth had the goal of working on her raised garden beds and requested an extra set of hands. Moments later, three highly motivated volunteers joined us for the “morning in the monsoon.”

The specific tasks including weeding, composting, and mulching four of her raised beds. After countless trips to the compost and mulch piles, water breaks, and one interruption to go catch escaping chickens, our work was finally completed by noon. What would have normally taken Elizabeth a week to do on her own, was easily checked off the list in one morning. Not to mention, group work always makes it more fun!

12:00 PM

The daily lunch plans tend to change, but today there was a special intern lunch gathering. The male interns hosted everyone in their home. Gabe, the urban garden intern, prepared a homemade stew, served with a side of mangoes. As the host, Gabe also prepared an inclusive activity for some group reflection and manifestations. With the addition of two new interns earlier that week, the group utilized this time to share new ideas and goals of what they hope to accomplish together. It was a sweet and tender moment of casting vision for the upcoming months, and the future work in which they are preparing for.

Pictured above: Interns attending their afternoon meeting—lead by farm manager, Andy Cotarelo.

Pictured above: Interns attending their afternoon meeting—lead by farm manager, Andy Cotarelo.

3:00 PM

As the mid-afternoon sun falls lower in the sky, the interns return to group farm work. At 3:00 p.m. exactly, staff, interns, and volunteers integrate for a brief meeting to divide and conquer responsibilities. This afternoon was set aside for smaller, more specific projects around the farm, assigned by farm manager: Andy Cotarelo.

The best thing is, not one afternoon is ever the same. Monday and Wednesday afternoons are reserved for seminars. Interns are merged into a classroom, with a hands-on environment—to learn about vital agricultural information. ECHO’s recent intern seminars have covered a wide variety of topics including: mangoes, beekeeping, bamboo harvesting, and the Biblical basis for ECHO.

Tuesday and Friday afternoons are reserved to work in either the seed bank or propagation. Each intern is assigned to one of these duties for the duration of their internship.

This leaves Thursdays available during the week for ECHO interns and volunteers to join together and complete whatever projects on the farm that could use some extra attention and work.

3:30 PM

As far as farm work, this week Elizabeth teamed up with Feo, the rainforest intern, to overcome a mulching project near the urban garden area. This mulching project quickly became an irrigation problem! To solve it, we began to clear the two main areas of weeds and overgrown greenery with hoes and rakes. Prior to burying the mulch to prevent weeds, we checked to make sure the irrigation in that area was functioning properly- which it was not.

We found a few leaks along the pipe and made repairs before completing the mulching. After confirming with the Farm Manager and multiple trips to the shop, Feo was able to demonstrate how to repair the holes. We polished off the job by dumping and spreading mulch all over both areas.

6:00 PM

The sun sinks lower in the sky as the interns wrap up for the day. Everyone takes careful time to clean, and organize the farm’s tools and golf carts. They are returned to the shop so they are ready to go for tomorrow. Some interns hurried off to their own evening commitments—dinner, bible study, gardening, a pickup volleyball game, or some volunteering.

8:45pm

Elizabeth’s final task of the day was to feed and cage her chickens, similar to the chores we completed that same morning. With her work boots back on and her headlamp to guide the way, we ventured into the dark farm. The mature chickens were far easier to interact with—they even perched themselves for the night inside their coop. We shut the door and admired the beauty, just for a sweet moment.

Treading towards the young chickens, we detoured to the the laying box to pick up a few eggs from the day! We arrived at the teenage chicken’s coop to find that some had gotten out through a small crack again. We returned them to the enclosure, before coaxing the whole group into the left side of the structure for safekeeping from critters overnight. And lastly, the ducks had one more feeding before the hatch closed them in for the night.

9:30pm

It’s now officially the end of the day. Most interns have retired to their respective houses for the night. After a long day of hands-on work in the sun, interns tend to head to bed as soon as they can. Often interns joke about “missionary midnight” which comes at about 9 p.m; signaling the end of the day in the life of an intern.

My ECHO Experience Explained:

I loved following Elizabeth around for the day. I got a tangible sense of what the everyday life of an intern is like. They work in the tropical heat in Florida. Most of their time for 14 months is centered around the farm. But their work has purpose, and there is joy in it. These interns are the backbone of ECHO. The work the interns put in reaps a bountiful harvest— for ECHO, and for the communities the interns are preparing to work alongside. These interns are ECHO’s trainers, partners, and network members. They are quite literally training to be sent out as the hands and feet of Jesus and to be manifestations of the knowledge of the ECHO network. The interns are crucial to ECHO’s mission and have a beautiful role in the work of the Kingdom.

That’s a big deal.

What Does Spring mean to ECHO?

March 21st was the official first day of Spring, and with a new season comes new joy and experiences. The ECHO team recently asked our interns and volunteers on the farm in Florida, what Spring means to them.

It was a gorgeous day on Friday, not a cloud in the sky and the temperature barely crept over 80 degrees. The sun was beaming down on the abundance on the farm, bringing new life and more growth. This was truly a sight to see this morning: interns and volunteers working tirelessly to ensure the farm is in tip-top shape and the plants are thriving! To learn more about seasonal produce and our current favorite recipes, check out this post for some inspiration for fresh Spring meals!

Striding down the dirt path towards the urban garden, there was a smile on every face as we questioned our team members what Spring means for them, and what they were thanking God for this season. The first volunteer we stopped this morning was Kassie Jahr, a volunteer from Taylor University in Indiana:

God makes all things anew.

ECHO: What does Spring mean to you? How does Spring remind you to feel grateful?

Kassie: “God makes all things new. This is something I am constantly reminded of especially seeing what the season has created here on the farm. Our tasks mostly consist of spring cleaning, tidying up, harvesting, and just making things look anew. This is my favorite part about Spring, that God’s promises are always true, it won’t be cold and dead forever; life will still come back and bring new beginnings.”

After a wonderful conversation with Kassie, we traveled down to the warehouse and found two ECHO team members chatting about their daily tasks—this is when we struck up another conversation about Spring:

ECHO: What do you look forward to most about Spring?

Intern: “This may sound weird, but my favorite thing is free Italian ice at Rita’s on the first day of Spring—this gets me excited to know warmer weather is coming. Which is another thing I love: when the air gets warmer and you can feel it on your face. It’s as if you know life just gets happier around this time.”

As we rounded the corner after saying goodbye to our last two team members, we stumbled upon ECHO intern, Matt Cunningham and ECHO volunteer, Alaynna Flannery. When we asked them: “What Does Spring mean to You?” it seemed like a no-brainer for them!

Matt: “With Spring comes the promise of new life, and the freshness of new growth is very promising and encouraging…I appreciate the coolness before the high heat of summer, and try to remember how unique Spring is in and of itself—you can almost taste the Spring freshness in the plants you grow. Everything just tastes…sweeter. The distinction in crops is almost how you feel the seasons based on what you’re eating, and tasting the actual spring season in the plant...that freshness and ripeness.”

Alaynna: “Like Matt said, new life is a perfect way to describe Spring and just the new opportunities and challenges that lay ahead. I feel like this is the season to be surrounded by blooms, colors and growth, which is something specific that makes me feel so grateful for the Spring season. It reminds me to stop and reflect on how much I love and appreciate this life. I feel like I could go on forever regarding what I’m thankful for, but as far as expressing my gratitude and thankfulness, I love to write down how I’m feeling that day and express what it is I am truly grateful for.

We believe that helping small-scale farmers overcome tired soils and difficult conditions is one way to put an end to the suffering and worrying farmers and their families endure everyday.

A wonderful point our volunteers and interns have made here, was the importance of appreciating what we have in the present moment before it is gone. And more importantly, recognizing that having something we are so thankful for, is all the more reason to share it with those who may need it most. In this case, ECHO intern Matt chooses to share his favorite feeling of holding onto the cool, spring air before the searing, summer temperatures are upon us.

Millions of families all over the world hope to hang onto the Spring season, because of its promise of new growth, and the hopes for a plentiful harvest. However, droughts, barren and overworked land, and lack of resources, are just a few challenges that farmers and their families face. When this happens, malnutrition sets in, and families struggle to make a living, cover medical expenses, and send their children to school...all because they don't know where their next meal may come from.

ECHO's mission, is to reduce world hunger by providing sustainable resources, and useful skills, while honoring God by empowering and teaching those who are undernourished. We believe that helping small-scale farmers overcome tired soils and difficult conditions is one way to put an end to the suffering and worrying farmers and their families endure everyday.

Spring Time in a few words:

  • Growth

  • Gratitude

  • Fresh

  • Vibrancy

  • Rebirth

  • Thrive

  • Love

Interested in finding out how YOU can get involved in ECHO's mission? Visit our Social Media pages:

Spring Eats; Our Favorite Recipes this March!

The abundant spring season always seems to remind us of our blessings! These plentiful, and nutritional foods bring inspiration and gratitude to our minds and bodies; allowing us to further ECHO’s mission and help people on a daily basis. With this abundance and over pouring appreciation for this Earth, ECHO has created a new blog post, giving readers recipes for each meal of the day; using all seasonal, spring produce! Crafting this post was really inspiring, and allowed team members at ECHO to share their own favorite recipes this month! Nothing seems to bring people together, as much as a homemade meal! With that being said, here are our favorite seasonal, go-to recipes for the month of March!

 

Our Favorite Spring Foods:

1.     Fava Beans

2.     Spinach

3.     Asparagus

4.     Strawberries

5.     Kiwi

6.     Cherries

7.     Apricots

8.     Peas

9.     Artichokes

10.  Beets

11.  Spring onions

12.  Parsley

13.  Basil

14.  Dandelion

15.  Radishes

16.  Broccoli

17.  Mushrooms

18.  Celery

19.  Avocado

20.  Garlic

 

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Keto-Friendly Breakfast Wrap

BREAKFAST

Yields 2-4 servings

Ingredients:

- 2 cups of fresh spinach

- ½ cup of grated low-fat mozzarella cheese

- 1 egg

- fresh basil/oregano to taste

- salt & pepper to taste

- ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder

 

Our favorite foods to fill our wraps:

-Eggs

-Tofu

-Tempeh

-Cucumber

-Breakfast meats

-Cheese

-Lettuce

-Tomato

-Hummus

-Carrots

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Blend the cheese and spinach together using a food processor.

Stir in the egg, herbs, and salt and pepper.

Spread the mixture evenly onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper (you want the mixture to be spread about ¼ inch thick maximum).

Bake about 15-18 minutes, or until dry and golden brown.

After removing your wrap from the oven, TAKE IT OFF THE PARCHMENT PAPER and allow it to cool completely, before you start to slice it.

 Fill your flatbreads with your favorite foods! Enjoy!

Photo Credit: Facebook.com


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Strawberry-Kiwi Protein Smoothie

BREAKFAST

Yields 2 Servings

Ingredients:

- 1 kiwi, peeled and chopped

- 1 handful of frozen strawberries

- 1 banana

- 1 cup of milk of your choice

- 1 dash of maple syrup

- 1 Tbsp of protein powder of your choice (vanilla flavored)

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients into your blender.

Blend on high until completely smooth and there are no strawberry or kiwi chunks. Add more milk or ice for your desired texture. Enjoy!

 Photo Credit: Nutribullet




 

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Seasonal Veggie Sourdough Toasts with Avocado

SNACK

Yields 2 servings

Ingredients:

- 2 slices of sourdough bread

- 1 avocado

- 1 radish, sliced very thin

- salt & pepper to taste

- sprouts of choice (we like to use broccoli sprouts and sunflower sprouts)

- 1 tomato, cut into 4 slices (2 slices per toast)

- (optional) drizzle of good quality olive oil, coconut aminos, and/or sriracha.

Directions:

Toast your sourdough bread slices to your liking. While they are toasting, smash up your avocado into a small bowl; add salt & pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Slice your watermelon radishes very thinly, set aside. Slice your tomato and drizzle with extra- virgin olive oil (or anything above); top with salt and pepper.

Smear the smashed avocado onto the toasts. Follow the avocado with the sliced radish, sprouts, and then top with tomato slices. Add extra toppings of your choice! Enjoy!



 

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Fava Bean and Shaved-Asparagus Salad

LUNCH

Yields 8 Servings

Ingredients:

- ¼ cup coarsely chopped raw pistachios

- 1 ½ cups, shelled fava beans

- salt & pepper to taste

-1/3 cup of olive oil

- 1 bunch of fresh asparagus, sliced thinly, lengthwise (preferably on a mandoline)

- 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

- 2 cups of arugula

- 1 cup of watercress spinach

-1/4 cup of mint leaves

- 2 Tbsp of tarragon leaves

- 2 Tbsp of chopped spring onion (approx. 2 stalks)

-1 cup of golden cherry tomatoes, cut in half

- juice of 1 lemon

-1 Tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until fragrant but not browned, 5–8 minutes. Let cool.

Cook fava beans in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a colander set in a bowl of ice water. Drain, remove skins, and transfer beans to a small bowl.

In a separate, small bowl combine: spring onions, vinegar, lemon juice, salt & pepper; set the mixture aside for a few minutes.

Whisk the olive oil and maple syrup into the spring onion mixture.

Combine beans, asparagus, watercress, arugula, mint, tarragon, and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl; add vinaigrette and pistachios and toss to combine. Top with fresh cracked pepper. Enjoy!

 Photo Credit: bonappetit.com






 

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Spring Veggie Soup

DINNER

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

-2 Tbsp of olive oil

- 2 medium carrots, diced (approx. 1 cup)

- 1 medium size leek, trimmed and diced (approx. 2 cups)

- 1 celery stalk, diced (approx. 2/3 cup)

- Salt & pepper to taste

- 2 garlic cloves, minced

- 5 cups, unsalted stock of choice

- 1 pound of small red potatoes, quartered

- 1 cup of frozen green peas

- 1 cup of sliced asparagus (cut into 1 inch chunks)

- 1, 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

- 2 cups of fresh spinach

- 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme

- ¼ cup of fresh, torn basil

- (optional) parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add oil; mix through to coat.

Add carrots, leek, and celery; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add salt, pepper, and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.

Add stock; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

Add potatoes; reduce heat to medium, and simmer 8 minutes or until potatoes start to soften. Add peas, asparagus, and beans; simmer 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add spinach, thyme, and basil last; cook 1 minute. Ladle soup into bowls; top with cheese or hot sauce. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: MyRecipes

 

beets.png

Spicy Garlic-Roasted Beets

DINNER

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

-1 bunch of large red beets, cubed

-salt and pepper to taste

-1 Tbsp of olive oil

- 1 clove of garlic, minced

- 1 tsp of red pepper flakes

- 1 tsp of ground turmeric

- 1 tsp of paprika

-1 tsp of dried oregano

- 1 Tbsp of maple syrup

- 1 tsp of dried oregano

Directions:

Wash and peel the beets.

Once that is done, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut the beets into 1- inch thick cubes. Toss them in the olive oil, spices, and garlic.

Place the beets onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake your beets for 35-40 minutes, flipping occasionally.

During the last 5-10 minutes of baking, drizzle the maple syrup over your beets and toss once more. Allow them to finish cooking. Once they are done, season with fresh cracked pepper, and serve warm. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: Taste

 

 

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Homegrown Dandelion-Ginger Tea

BEVERAGE

Yields 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

- 2 cups of young, dandelion greens and flowers; rinsed clean.

- 1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled & grated

-the juice from half of a lemon

-sweetener of choice

-dash of cinnamon

Directions:

Place the 2 cups of dandelion into a sauce pan.

Cover it with about 4 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Add your fresh ginger.

Allow your dandelion tea to infuse for AT LEAST the next 3 hours.

Once your tea has steeped, strain out the dandelion and ginger and reserve the liquid for tea. Add the lemon juice and cinnamon before drinking. Chill your leftover tea in the fridge. Enjoy!


Photo Credit: mix.com

 

 

 


Upcoming Events:    ECHO’s Annual Global Food and Farm Festival    Date: Saturday, March 16, 2019 9am-3pm    Tickets on sale NOW online!    $5 presale, or $7 at the door, the day of the event.

Upcoming Events:

ECHO’s Annual Global Food and Farm Festival

Date: Saturday, March 16, 2019 9am-3pm

Tickets on sale NOW online!

$5 presale, or $7 at the door, the day of the event.

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Works Cited:

Roman, Alison, and Alex Lau. “Fava Bean and Asparagus Salad.” Bon Appetit, Bon Appétit, 21 May 2016, www.bonappetit.com/recipe/fava-bean-asparagus-salad.

Rose, Amanda. “Dandelion Tea for Fluid Retention, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, and More!” Fresh Bites Daily, 26 Apr. 2018, www.freshbitesdaily.com/dandelion-tea/.

“Seasonal Produce Guide.” Nutrition Education Materials | SNAP-Ed Connection, snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide.

“Spring Vegetable Soup.” MyRecipes, My Recipes, www.myrecipes.com/recipe/spring-vegetable-soup-0.