My name is Erica -- and I get to work as the Community Garden Intern at ECHO! I work on the farm learning about worm compost, biochar, container gardening, permaculture, and other techniques, and share them with people in our community. Thanks to Publix, who helps to sponsor our Community Garden Program, I travel to school and community gardens, teach workshops, speak at special events, and invite groups to the farm to gather ideas to use in their own gardens. I see this role impacting our community by providing encouragement and support to small and large garden projects. I talk with folks who have incredible visions for their community or school garden, some with agricultural background and others not. No matter how much experience our partners already have, ECHO can provide resources, wisdom, planting, and design assistance. ECHO also learns from our partners and shares success stories and techniques among other members of the community.
Just this month, I was able to partner with St. Mary Catholic School in Sarasota to share the mission of ECHO with over 500 K-8th graders. I led a workshop on worm composting and others lead workshops on building with bamboo, water purification, and gardening. Imagine 500+ kiddos digging through worm compost full of worms, millipedes, and food scraps while learning hands-on about composting! It was an exciting, messy, educational, and memorable day for both the students and ECHO staff. This is just one example of how ECHO partners with the community, and I am so thankful to support, engage, and learn from our community garden partners in SW Florida! Contact ECHO Community Garden Assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance with your school or community garden.