ECHO Asia is a resource organization, but we are also a training and equipping organization, hosting NGO workers, missionaries, academics, and even school children. We had the privilege of hosting six Chiang Mai International School (CMIS) high school students last week in an effort to help their studies about environmental science come alive through the work of ECHO. We had one session at the office, where we shared about how ECHO operates and our strategies for impacting the poor followed by a tour of our demonstration garden and a demonstration of a rice-hull biogasifier stove that we have been promoting around Asia.
Last week, we took the same group out to the Partners Small Farm Resource Center, and living/learning laboratory for development workers to see and experience ideas and techniques that can improve the lives of the poor.
1) We covered various topics related to sustainable agriculture and the ecological principles underlying it, including the importance of soil, animal integration and fermented feeds, and appropriate technology.
2) Everyone got their hands dirty in our soil lab, in which they tested soil using a texture by feel approach, after having learned about the creation and importance of soil.
3) No field trip in Thailand is complete without food, so we dined on a delicious lunch prepared by the Partners staff of local ingredients. The day ended with students creating an input/output diagram which represented the energy, nutrient, and waste flows of the farm and how nothing is wasted in an integrated, sustainable system.