There are over 925 million people who starve each day. 9 million of those people are children who die daily due to malnutrition. ECHO stands for Educational Concerns for Hunger Organizations and is a Christian-based organization that addresses hunger and malnutrition in third-world countries. The foundation of ECHO is located in Southwest Florida, the weather and climate are mild and adaptable to subtropic plants, which promotes international agriculture. This non-profit organization educates people on tools and techniques to grow nutritious foods. To best train the ECHO volunteers and farmers (many of which are subsistence farmers), the farm is built to best mimic a third-world country. This gives the workers real experiences to maintain a food farm. These farms are constructed with basic materials and include animals and plants. The whole idea is to remove the workers from a modern environment and adapt to third-world circumstances.
The work that ECHO performs is not limited to helping the malnourished. They are also known for making efforts to reduce the environmental footprint by promoting sustainability. They do this by using adaptive technology, renewable energy sources, and planting foods without harmful chemicals and fertilizers.
The duck and tilapia system reduces the costs for feeding specific livestock which can be a financial burden for some farmers. The manure from the ducks stimulates the growth of phytoplankton, which promotes the production of tilapia. A deep litter system is used for pig farming; this is the action of digging a hole into the ground and adding compost into it. This absorbs the odors and smells that cause pig farms to be discomforting to work in. However, instead of digging the holes into the ground, ECHO builds them upwards and mimics the same system. The zero graze is a system used to get animals off of the group (like goats), and minimize the amount of feces that the animals come into contact with. This reduces the amount of worming that farmers have to do for the animals. This system also helps the growth and health of pastures, which goats tend to destruct.
The virtual ECHO tour was very interesting. I liked the educational tour that was centered around the types of food that ECHO grows and the systems they incorporate to create a sustainable environment. This tour gave me a lot of insight on how much dedication and work it takes to simply feed mouths in third-world countries. I appreciate the amount of effort that ECHO takes to teach the world about farming techniques and help fight against the struggle of hunger.
When I was younger, my mom maintained a garden in the backyard. I would help her water and plant new seeds to nourish a harvest of fruits and vegetables. We grew a lot of berries, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, etc. It was always felt good to watch your garden grow and eat fresh produce grown right in your backyard. By doing this, you can control whether or not to use chemicals and fertilizers and know that your food is genuinely fresh.