ECHO recently opened the application process for the July and October, 2017 intern positions. ECHO’s Internship is a paid, 14 month long program. It provides an opportunity for professional and personal growth for college graduates pursuing a career in international community development, with a focus on small-scale tropical agriculture or appropriate technologies. The internship program provides hands-on training on ECHO’s global demonstration farm in Florida. Interns develop basic skills in small-scale tropical agriculture, animal husbandry, appropriate technologies, public speaking, managing volunteers, and more. Interns also receive regular training and field trips designed to enhance these skills and provide exposure to a broad range of agriculture and community development topics. During this round of applications ECHO will select 3 agriculture interns and 1 appropriate technology intern. The internship applications will be accepted through February 1, 2017.
By McKenzie Van Loh, Abby Petersen and Beret Leone
We woke to the light of morning shining through the leaves of papaya and avocado trees next to the A-Frame on ECHO’s farm. As we sauntered to the second level to toast bagels and sip coffee, the heat of a Florida November had already begun to rustle the tips of the bamboo shoots nearby. At our home, Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn., the leaves are already off the trees. But at ECHO Farm, everything is alive.
We, four students from a small journalism program, had never heard of silvopastoral systems or sustainable agroforestry. We came to ECHO as learners - and we learned. More than anything, we learned how much we don’t know about our world and those who hunger in it. We met agriculturalists from Australia, Haiti and Brazil, as well as from all over the U.S.
For the short visit we had at the ECHO conference we had one goal: find stories and serve others by sharing these stories. We quickly came to realize our plan wasn’t so simple.
One person in particular who caught our attention introduced himself to us as Michel. Traveling from Haiti, Michel and his friend David offered to be in the video we were producing for ECHO - a small project intended to get a sense of why ECHO matters to the people it affects. Michel translated for David, who spoke Haitian Creole. We sat back in awe while the lilting tones of the Haitian language bounced back and forth through the ECHO yard. We came to serve ECHO, but the people of ECHO continually served us.
Chatting with passerbys on the porch outside of the ECHO gift shop quickly attracted a gentlemen bearing a ‘PRESS’ lanyard; a fellow journalist. He was a sports reporter reporting for the North Fort Myers Neighbor newspaper who heard we were students and wanted to ask us a few questions. It was humbling to have the spotlight turned over to us, but helped us refocus on what ECHO is all about and what message we wanted to share. As the reporter, Chuck Ballaro, simply put; “it’s about giving a man a fish versus teaching a man how to fish.”
After talking to several people about their experiences with ECHO, we came across one vibrant woman. She pulled aside the brown, wooden rocking chair we had been using and plopped down while she ate from a bag of popcorn in her hand. She smiled up at us struck a conversation. We asked her if we could interview her about what ECHO means to her.
“My husband and I founded ECHO,” she said with a chuckle. We spent the next twenty minutes listening and learning from Bonnie Price and the experiences she and her husband have shared.
We spent the rest of the afternoon traipsing past the sheep, being followed by the local cat and enjoying the balmy air of Fort Myers. We learned that the guacamole we ate for lunch was made from a recipe created by a neurosurgeon. We learned how to make an agroforestry joke. Mostly, we closed our mouths and learned.
What a blessing it is to learn. What a blessing it is to serve our fellow children of God. How humbling it is to meet the hands and feet of Christ at ECHO.
ECHO International Agriculture Conference 2016 is the coolest conference ever!
Refreshing! Is that a term that normally is connected to long hours and busy days? For anyone with interest in agriculture and sustainable development, the ECHO conference fits that bill and more.
Delegated huddle together discussing new trends in sustainable development and share both challenges and successes.
Plenary speakers share years of experience in their fields, spurring other practitioners to try a proven technique or method.
The ECHO conference welcomed 189 delegates this year working in over 20 countries around the world.
Evening settings included Silvopastoral systems in Brazil, livestock management in jungle pastures, and other in-depth expert-led topics.
Did you know that you can use your communication and administration skills to work on a farm? If you are passionate about helping people raise themselves out of poverty, your skills can be put to work on ECHO's Advancement Team.
Working alongside our talented agricultural training and research staff, the Advancement Team works to raise the funds to keep ECHO's mission equipping and training small-scale farmers around the world.
ECHO seeks an Advancement Associate that will be responsible for providing administrative support for the Advancement Office and participates in fundraising, marketing, and public relations activities, including, but not limited to, direct mail appeals, proposal development, and special events.
The Advancement Associate will manage the donor database to add/update accounts, and utilize database report functions for team analysis. He/she will generate/mail thank-you letters and assist the Donor Stewardship Manager in developing the annual strategic plan objectives and create annual goals and objectives for fundraising initiatives.
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There are many ECHO members and partner organizations responding with immediate relief to the damage in the Caribbean caused by Hurricane Matthew. ECHO is supporting the recovery efforts by equipping, training, and connecting partners, old and new, with resources and techniques that will have a vital impact in the lives of small-scale farming families in Haiti.
As relief efforts draw to a close in the coming months, ECHO's role will become even more important. Sustainable development takes time and careful thought, empowering farmers to become even more resilient to the next storm. Through hands-on trainings and the sharing of resources in Creole, Spanish, and English, farmers will be encouraged, and harvests will be improved. Fields are being replanted, and intentional choice of seed, technique, and timing will be necessary. Through many partners, ECHO will continue it's 36-year history of equipping small-scale farmers with the resources that they need.
Will you partner with us? A gift to our Central America/Caribbean Regional Impact Team will ensure that ECHO continues to strengthen farmers and their families in this region.