Fort Myers Farm Fights World Hunger by Planting A Seed [Video]

A plant growing in North Fort Myers has the power to transform lives around the world.

Be the change by planting a seed. It is the echo of a promise made on a 55-acre farm in North Fort Myers where thousands of plants grow for changing lives.

“I love the mission,” said Mark Trask, ECHO volunteer. “I love why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

Trask said he is helping grow a difference by volunteering for ECHO. ECHO provides resources and teaches farming methods to people around the world to make them self-sustaining.

Farm Manager Andy Cotarelo said since partnering with Community Cooperative in 2013, ECHO has donated more than 7,000 pounds of produce to the Southwest Florida soup kitchen.

“We try to give them what they can use,” Cotarelo said. “We also wanted to make it available for the public. So we make that available every Friday and Saturday through our stand at the bookstore.”

Produce sold at ECHO’s farm stand helps pay for their operations and mission to send seeds around the world where they can make the most significant impact.

“One thing we’ve really strive to do is make sure the seeds we sent out are open-pollinated,” Cotarelo said. “Those are gonna be real important for farmers.”

Can you live on what you can grow?

North Fort Myers, Fla, February 5, 2014—Cassava pizza dough and purple yam dumplings aren’t the usual fare for recent college graduates, or really anyone in the United States. This week, however, at ECHO’s Global Farm, Interns are eating only what they have grown with their own hands. Bring on “Farm Challenge.” 

 Farm Challenge intimately connects interns with the crops that they have been growing on the ECHO Global Farm throughout their training time. Using the bounty of small livestock, fruit, vegetables, grains, herbs and spices, interns craft three meals a day. The only external items allowed are salt and oil. 

The Global Farm is a hands-on, living classroom situated on 50 acres in southwest Florida. Home to the nonprofit ECHO for the past 30 years, this plot of land has been transformed from sandy Florida scrub into a demonstration farm so unique that you sometimes forget what country you are in. The humid rainforest and the tropical highlands known as “the mountain” are just two of the imitated settings faced by small-scale farmers around the world.

More information about ECHO’s services is available at:

About: ECHO provides sustainable options to world hunger through innovative options, agricultural training, and networking with community leaders and missionaries in 180 developing countries. ECHO seeks to find agricultural solutions for families growing food under difficult conditions. ECHO’s international headquarters is located in Fort Myers, FL.