What Does Spring mean to ECHO?

March 21st was the official first day of Spring, and with a new season comes new joy and experiences. The ECHO team recently asked our interns and volunteers on the farm in Florida, what Spring means to them.

It was a gorgeous day on Friday, not a cloud in the sky and the temperature barely crept over 80 degrees. The sun was beaming down on the abundance on the farm, bringing new life and more growth. This was truly a sight to see this morning: interns and volunteers working tirelessly to ensure the farm is in tip-top shape and the plants are thriving! To learn more about seasonal produce and our current favorite recipes, check out this post for some inspiration for fresh Spring meals!

Striding down the dirt path towards the urban garden, there was a smile on every face as we questioned our team members what Spring means for them, and what they were thanking God for this season. The first volunteer we stopped this morning was Kassie Jahr, a volunteer from Taylor University in Indiana:

God makes all things anew.

ECHO: What does Spring mean to you? How does Spring remind you to feel grateful?

Kassie: “God makes all things new. This is something I am constantly reminded of especially seeing what the season has created here on the farm. Our tasks mostly consist of spring cleaning, tidying up, harvesting, and just making things look anew. This is my favorite part about Spring, that God’s promises are always true, it won’t be cold and dead forever; life will still come back and bring new beginnings.”

After a wonderful conversation with Kassie, we traveled down to the warehouse and found two ECHO team members chatting about their daily tasks—this is when we struck up another conversation about Spring:

ECHO: What do you look forward to most about Spring?

Intern: “This may sound weird, but my favorite thing is free Italian ice at Rita’s on the first day of Spring—this gets me excited to know warmer weather is coming. Which is another thing I love: when the air gets warmer and you can feel it on your face. It’s as if you know life just gets happier around this time.”

As we rounded the corner after saying goodbye to our last two team members, we stumbled upon ECHO intern, Matt Cunningham and ECHO volunteer, Alaynna Flannery. When we asked them: “What Does Spring mean to You?” it seemed like a no-brainer for them!

Matt: “With Spring comes the promise of new life, and the freshness of new growth is very promising and encouraging…I appreciate the coolness before the high heat of summer, and try to remember how unique Spring is in and of itself—you can almost taste the Spring freshness in the plants you grow. Everything just tastes…sweeter. The distinction in crops is almost how you feel the seasons based on what you’re eating, and tasting the actual spring season in the plant...that freshness and ripeness.”

Alaynna: “Like Matt said, new life is a perfect way to describe Spring and just the new opportunities and challenges that lay ahead. I feel like this is the season to be surrounded by blooms, colors and growth, which is something specific that makes me feel so grateful for the Spring season. It reminds me to stop and reflect on how much I love and appreciate this life. I feel like I could go on forever regarding what I’m thankful for, but as far as expressing my gratitude and thankfulness, I love to write down how I’m feeling that day and express what it is I am truly grateful for.

We believe that helping small-scale farmers overcome tired soils and difficult conditions is one way to put an end to the suffering and worrying farmers and their families endure everyday.

A wonderful point our volunteers and interns have made here, was the importance of appreciating what we have in the present moment before it is gone. And more importantly, recognizing that having something we are so thankful for, is all the more reason to share it with those who may need it most. In this case, ECHO intern Matt chooses to share his favorite feeling of holding onto the cool, spring air before the searing, summer temperatures are upon us.

Millions of families all over the world hope to hang onto the Spring season, because of its promise of new growth, and the hopes for a plentiful harvest. However, droughts, barren and overworked land, and lack of resources, are just a few challenges that farmers and their families face. When this happens, malnutrition sets in, and families struggle to make a living, cover medical expenses, and send their children to school...all because they don't know where their next meal may come from.

ECHO's mission, is to reduce world hunger by providing sustainable resources, and useful skills, while honoring God by empowering and teaching those who are undernourished. We believe that helping small-scale farmers overcome tired soils and difficult conditions is one way to put an end to the suffering and worrying farmers and their families endure everyday.

Spring Time in a few words:

  • Growth

  • Gratitude

  • Fresh

  • Vibrancy

  • Rebirth

  • Thrive

  • Love

Interested in finding out how YOU can get involved in ECHO's mission? Visit our Social Media pages:

How ECHO is Changing MY Life

From Stranger to Volunteer Coordinator by Deb Johnson

Just 15 months ago, I was a stranger to this wonderful community known as ECHO.

In April of last year, there was an environmental fair about 50 miles north of Fort Myers in a town called North Port. An interesting display caught my attention and I made the decision right away to check out this place called ECHO.  I visited the very next week and just like most first timers I was blown away. The tropical beauty, passionate people and most of all, the extraordinary mission makes this place seem to be a bit of heaven on earth. I became a volunteer and the seed that ECHO planted in my world was beginning to grow. Read More.

As time went on, the Volunteer Coordinator position became available and to my delight I was given the chance to further my involvement and deepen my commitment to ECHO’s vision. It is a gift and an honor to be in a position to interact with so many interesting and wonderful people from our dedicated staff to long-time volunteers, amazing interns and excited new folks visiting the Global Farm for the first time.

From my particular vantage point working with you, our amazing volunteers, I see the impact first hand of God touching hearts through ECHO’s work . The effects are powerful and renewing – honestly life-changing. I’ve come to realize that by being a small part of the effort enabling small-scale farmers to grow food for their families, I get the chance to grow my own soul in spirit and love. Thank you for all that you do!