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Announcing the ECHOcommunity Mobile App 2020-11-19

We are excited to announce the immediate availability of the ECHOcommunity Mobile App!
This free app has been developed to help you take and share resources when your work extends out beyond your internet connection.

ECHO International Agriculture Conference - ONLINE November 19th! 2020-11-02

The 2020 International Agriculture Conference will feature leading voices in various aspects of agricultural development—practitioners, scientists, and community leaders. Content will be presented in plenary and concurrent breakout sessions, with ample opportunities to network with each other, as past participants have come to know and expect.

EDN #149 Now Available 2020-10-16

In this issue:

Download EDN 149

Farmer-Centered Climate Change Mitigation

Tim Motis


How can smallholder farmers help mitigate against climate change? An article in EDN 148 described principles on which the strategies presented in this follow-up article are based. Key to any agricultural approach for dealing with climate change is dialogue with farmers, whose knowledge, experience, and participation are critical for success. In our conversations, we should distinguish between adaptation and mitigation. Adaptation strategies increase farmers’ resilience and reduce their vulnerability to loss. Mitigation strategies directly reduce the causes of climate change. Some farming practices are helpful both for adaptation and for mitigation.

[ Read the full article ]

Nuevo Nota Técnica Ahora Disponible: Banco de semilla con sacos de tierra 2020-08-13

Descargar TN#96 (PDF)  Leer TN#96 en líne

En el trabajo de desarrollo agrícola la conservación de la semilla en un tema de importancia, y ECHO ha publicado muchos artículos sobre varios aspectos de técnicas para el almacenamiento de semilla, tecnologías apropiadas, e intercambio de semillas. ECHOcommunity.org alberga varios recursos relacionados con la construcción con sacos de tierra, el con sacos de tierra, de semilla y otros temas relacionados. La última adición a nuestro repertorio es una Nota Técnica sobre “Banco de semillas con sacos de tierra” que brinda una guía para construir un ambiente resistente con el fin de almacenar semillas para bancos de semilla comunitarios.

Junto con la información técnica sobre los beneficios de las estructuras de sacos de tierra, esta Nota Técnica presenta instrucciones de construcción detalladas, consejos y sugerencias para diseñar su propio banco de semillas con sacos de tierra, y una presentación de diapositivas en línea de varios aspectos del proceso de construcción realizado en el campus de ECHO Florida de nuestra propia estructura.

Finalmente, la sección “Lecturas adicionales”  ofrece una gama de recursos que le ayudarán a determinar si un banco de semillas con sacos de tierra es adecuado para sus necesidades y contexto. ¡Como siempre, ECHOcommunity Conversations es un excelente lugar para discutir con colegas miembros de la red ideas y preguntas que usted pueda tener sobre bancos de semilla con sacos de tierra, bancos de semilla comunitarios u otros temas!

EDN #148 Now Available 2020-07-17

In this issue:

Download EDN 148

Farmer-Centered Climate Change Mitigation

Tim Motis


ECHO recognizes climate change as a profound reality faced by small-scale farmers. Many of our publications have focused on helping farmers cope with related challenges such as heat and drought. Farmer resilience and minimal risk have been key elements of the practices we have written about over the years.  We encourage “no regret” strategies, approaches that steward the land well and improve livelihoods, regardless of whether or not farmers face immediate changes to climate (Flanagan, 2015). However, we also view farmers as having an integral role in mitigating some of the driving forces of climate change—something we explore in this article, which is the first of a two-part series. Part 1 explores principles that are foundational to the strategies that we will present in Part 2, in the next issue of EDN.  

[ Read the full article ]

New Technical Note: Earthbag Seed Banks 2020-06-29

Download TN#96 (PDF)  Read TN#96 online

Seed storage in the tropics has been a frequent topic of ECHO publications and trainings due to its importance to the smallholder farmer. Access to quality seeds is imperative for agronomic and horticultural crop production. While on-farm seed saving benefits the smallholder farmer, cooperative seed storage through the creation of seed banks bolsters farmers at the community level.

Seed banks provide secure structures for seed storage, while also serving as genetic repositories for important plants in the community. Centralizing the seed saving process also allows for cooperative investment in appropriate technologies and data management. As members of a community learn these management skills, they are empowered to save seeds themselves.

Seed preservation in the tropics is rife with difficulties due to high temperatures and humidity, so investing in worthwhile storage technologies is instrumental in smallholder communities. Of course, the process of establishing a seed bank involves community buy-in, stakeholder cooperation, and resource investment. While the social elements of seed banking are important, thisTechnical Note focuses on earthbag building techniques as a resource-effective means of establishing a seed bank. ECHO has now installed earthbag seed banks at two of its global offices: one in Thailand and one in Florida. This publication will outline the benefits of earthbag seed banks, as well as how to get started with your own project.

Earthbag House   Seed Bank  

EDN #147 Now Available 2020-04-14

In this issue:

Download EDN 147

Responding in the Case of an Epidemic or Pandemic

Dawn Berkelaar


SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been making its way around the world in the past weeks and months. The effects of this disease will almost certainly be felt by every community. Countries, where the infection is already well-established, have found it difficult to manage. Coping with a pandemic like this is particularly challenging in places with high population densities, lack of infrastructure, malnutrition, and incidence of other infections that leave people’s immune systems more vulnerable. Here are a few suggestions for ways to respond well in your community to the presence of a highly contagious disease.

[ Read the full article ]

ECHOcommunity Member Spotlight: Mr. Tuntun and Thaung Si 2020-04-08

As I walk the farm with Mr. Tuntun in rural Myanmar, I can’t help but smile as he proudly shows me the biochar he now makes and uses in his potting mix for his fruit tree seedlings. Instead of burning, he now turns his organic waste material from the farm into a valuable resource that can be used to produce more crops, instead of losing his carbon to the atmosphere through smoke.

About one year ago, Mr. Tuntun attended a Seed Saving Workshop in Pyin Oo Lwin and learned how to make biochar during one of the hands-on sessions. He immediately returned home and tried it for himself, and has been very successful. Mr. Tuntun now even hosts a facebook page where he shares his farming techniques with other Burmese-speaking farmers, explaining practices like biochar, among others!

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