Helping Animals, Healing the Planet

Photo courtesy of: Veterinarians International

Photo courtesy of: Veterinarians International

Dr. Beth A. Miller is the Senior Livestock Advisor for Veterinarians International and was recently in Nanyuki, Kenya as an invited speaker for the “Symposium on Best Practices in Pastoralist Areas of East Africa.”  

She spoke on the topic of “Gender and Pastoralism,” and led a discussion about successful strategies to include both women and men in sustainable development activities among pastoralist communities. 

"Pastoralists are highly dependent on their livestock for their livelihoods and manage their cattle, sheep and goats to provide food, clothing, income, and to maintain friendships and alliances. Traditionally, they have moved across East Africa to different grazing areas, sustainably managing the arid areas while developing unique and vibrant cultures.

Because livestock is central to pastoralist livelihoods, animal health and training attract people’s attention, and are terrific opportunities to facilitate discussion of women’s vision of their own future."

For more information on the East Africa Symposium and the benefits of empowering women through pastoralism and animal care, visit: 

http://vetsinternational.org/empoweringafricanwomen/#sthash.Fj1tzjrq.dpuf

What is ECHO?

ECHO is more than a farm! Founded in 1981, ECHO is an agricultural support agency to the world. We exist to reduce hunger and improve the lives of small-scale farmers worldwide. A non-denominational Christian organization, we provide agricultural and appropriate technology training and resources to development workers in more than 165 countries.  Among these resources is a large knowledge base of specialized information, technical support based on years of experience and an extensive seed bank focused on highly beneficial underutilized plants.  ECHO works to identify, validate, document and disseminate best practices in sustainable agriculture and appropriate technology.  Finally, ECHO creates opportunities for community leaders to connect with ECHO and one another to share experiences, ideas and encouragement. (tweet this)

Fast Facts

  • ECHO has 400 + volunteers that keep us going. 
  • 16% of our funding comes from our retail nursery and bookstore and other earned income. 84% of our funding comes from individuals, congregations, foundations, and corporations. 
  • 83% of all received donations go to program costs, 9% to management and administration, 8% to fundraising.

Tilapia Harvesting

Much harder than it looks! Interns, staff and volunteers on the ECHO Farm spent today seining two tilapia ponds, participating in the entire fish harvesting process. The net, with weights on one end and floats on the other, stretches the width of the pond to catch as many of these tasty fish as possible. Later today, interns will weigh and process the fish fillets, tracking how many pounds of fish we raised. Are you ready to get dirty? Come join us!

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Tropical Agricultural Development Course at ECHO

ECHO is pleased to welcome 17 participants to the farm this week as part of the Tropical Agricultural Development I class. The participants are either currently involved in agricultural work or anticipate they will use agriculture in their future overseas work.

During this week-long course they are exposed to a broad array of topics that are foundational to agricultural work and working as part of a community. It is a unique opportunity to spend time learning from ECHO staff and taking a closer look at the techniques and practices demonstrated at ECHO. Some of the topics covered in the course include: land care & soil restoration, compost & vermiculture, tilapia production, various options for water harvesting, seed saving, soil life, tropical fruits and appropriate technologies.

As the students enjoy a meal of cooked greens (katuk & chaya) that were prepared over a burner powered by biogas, steamed plantains, and salad (containing 34 different ingredients from the farm!) they also discuss how the information they have gained can impact their work. For some this week is filled with new information and for other it is a time for re-energizing for their work.

As they endure the seasonal afternoon downpours and typical Florida heat they are also building relationships with other classmates who are passionate about serving others through agriculture.

It is our hope that the information shared this week and connections made will have a lasting impact on the communities where these individuals work and live around the world. We hope they leave here better equipped to reduce hunger and improve lives through agriculture.