My name is Audrey Powell, and I grew up surrounded by farms in the countryside of Marion, Ohio. From a very young age, I was interested in animals and plants and always wished I could live on a farm. In high school, I began to feel God calling me into overseas ministry. I wasn’t sure what that would look like, but decided to go to Toccoa Falls College and get a Cross-Cultural degree. Around that time, the school announced that they would be starting a new minor in sustainable development, and I knew that this was the work for me! When I heard about ECHO, it was just the opportunity I had been looking for to get some hands-on experience in sustainable agriculture.
Since my arrival here, I have learned so many useful things! Working in the rainforest area of the farm has taught me so much about plant identification and care. I have learned to recognize many pests, diseases, and signs of nutrient deficiency in plants. I have enjoyed working with the goats and learning how they operate. One of my favorite things that I have learned is how to milk a goat (it makes me feel like a real country girl!). In seminars, I have been exposed to an amazingly wide variety of lessons, from how to use a sewing machine to how to graft trees. I have also learned so much from interacting with many other people who have agricultural and international experience.
When I finish with my time at ECHO, I hope to work long-term in Central Asia. I hope that I will be able to share what I’ve learned about underutilized crops and sustainable agriculture to make a difference in the lives of small-scale farmers. I am excited to see what else I will learn in my last five months here at ECHO. I am also so thankful for the wealth of information and contacts I will have available after I leave to help me in my future endeavors.