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Save the Dates! In-Person ECHO International Agriculture Conference 2022 2022-04-21

November 15-17,2022

ECHO is very excited to announce that we will be hosting the annual ECHO International Agriculture Conference in-person this November. After the past two years of virtual Conferences, we are thrilled for the opportunity to network face-to-face and to spend time reflecting, restoring, and renewing hope! This will be the theme for this year's conference. We invite you to save these dates in your calendar and join us this November  in Fort Myers, FL for a wonderful time of engagement around agricultural and community development topics that impact the lives of smallholder farmers around the world. Registration will open in June.

ECHO Asia Symposium Starts Today! 2022-04-18

ECHO Asia is holding an online Adoption of Agriculture Innovations Symposium on April 22nd, 2022. Join us as we learn together about the different innovative strategies that can help increase smallholder production in low-input and adaptable ways. Practitioners with experience and energy will share their ideas, successes, and failures.

Register Now! Session Topics include sustainable, positive community development, biosand water filtration system, on-farm feeds, biochar for improved crop yields, coconut replanting in response to cyclone relief, on-farm biosecurity measures and much more! 

EDN #155 Now Available 2022-04-12

In this issue:

Download EDN 155

Low-Cost Microcontrollers:

Applications for Small-Scale Agriculture

Tim Motis


Think of a microcontroller as a tiny computer that does specific tasks, like reading a sensor every hour. Once programmed, the microcontroller and any sensors connected to it can operate apart from a computer. The usefulness of microcontrollers goes beyond data logging. Microcontrollers can perform actions triggered by sensor readings. You could turn on a heat source if temperatures drop too low or turn on a solenoid valve if soil moisture levels indicate that water should be applied to a garden or field.

[Read the full article]

Update from the ECHO Global Farm in Florida: FMNR 2022-03-22

On January 31, 2022 we practiced Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) on three Apple Ring Acacia trees (Faidherbia albida) here at our Florida campus. We managed for 2, 3, and 4 stems to demonstrate different management choices. Selecting for fewer stems leads to larger-sized wood harvested less frequently while having more stems is more conducive to harvesting smaller diameter wood more frequently. This management process of selecting certain of the strongest stems, and culling out the rest, allows for the tree’s energy to be focused on growing those specific stems, leading to faster and straighter growth for poles or firewood. The prunings can then be fed to livestock as nutritious forage, used for mulch, and/or used to make thorny fences. This process helps regenerate a sustainable wood source for the small-scale farmer. Soil fertility is generally higher under these trees because they are leguminous and therefore fix nitrogen in partnership with microbes in the soil. They attract animals to their shade who in turn deposit their urine and manure to the field. The act of pruning also induces the tree to slough off some of the roots in the soil, increasing the fertility of the site as they break down.

40th Anniversary of ECHO Development Notes 2022-03-15

ECHO has been sending out ECHO Development Notes since the first issue in 1981! 2021 marked the 40th anniversary of ECHO as well as this important publication that Dr. Price started writing to share information he was learning with active development workers around the world. Issues of EDN were originally mailed out to people all over the world but are now shared via email and hosted on ECHOcommunity.org. Starting with EDN 47, issues were translated into Spanish! Issue 91 marked the beginning of the French translation for EDN. Although EDN has looked different across the years, it still functions as a means for sharing relevant, accessible agricultural information with ECHO's network of practitioners around the world. This quarterly technical publication provides credible research, experiences from around the world, and low-tech options that address smallholder agricultural needs.

Asia Note 48 Now Available! 2022-03-08

In this issue:

Download AN 48

Playing with Water Wheels

Exploring Low-Cost Methods for Pumping Irrigation Water

Thomas Singer, Raintree Foundation


Knowing that every pumping solution has its place and application, we decided to go another route and began looking into water wheel pumps. With the many design approaches out there, we decided to define our goals, and agreed that an appropriate design would feature affordability, easy assembly, low maintenance, and quick setup for people with access to flowing water. The overall objective was to help farmers with proximity to a river or small stream to irrigate their crops without the need for electric or gasoline powered pumps, as well as the reduction of manual labor.

[Read the full article]

ECHO Worldwide Events! 2022-03-01

ECHO is excited to announce that we have training events, both virtual and in-person to make available to you!

ECHO East Africa is holding an online Pastoralist Symposium from March 29-30th, 2022. Register Today to take part in this exciting event that both honors pastoralists while providing options for sustainable hunger and appropriate technology solutions! 

ECHO Asia is holding an online Adoption of Agriculture Innovations Symposium on April 22nd, 2022. Join us as we learn together about the different innovative strategies that can help increase smallholder production in low-input and adaptable ways. Practitioners with experience and energy will share their ideas, successes, and failures. 

ECHO Global Farm in Florida, USA is holding its first in-person event in a couple of years: Introduction to Tropical Agriculture Development (TAD 1). This 5-day course is meant for those just starting in tropical agriculture development and covers topics in community development, soil and plant health, animal integration, and appropriate technologies. See you on the farm!

All ECHO Events can be found on our Event Calendar

Network Members at work: The Makonda Wave Pump 2022-02-22

Mwanza, in Northern Tanzania, borders Lake Victoria which is a freshwater lake large enough for waves to form. Local entrepreneur John Makonda has worked on and improved a wave pump design utilizing only local material to bring water from the lake, uphill to planting beds. He is working to patent and manufacture his specific design in collaboration with SIDO Tled Hub. 

Makonde shares: 

with a complete system of 4 buoy pumps sending water at an even greater pressure of 150 psi to the distance of more than 3 kilometres benefiting more than 15 acres of farming , that's a lot of water for irrigation and domestic uses

For more information or to join a discussion about this topic, visit ECHO Conversations

Chipilín seeds now available! 2022-02-15

Chipilín (Crotalaria longirostrata) is native to southern Mexico and Central America. This species of Crotalaria is a popular food plant in countries such as Guatemala and El Salvador. The young leaves and shoots are consumed, either alone or mixed with other foods. It grows in humid soils, open slopes, and is commonly planted in fields and gardens. Chipilín leaves are an excellent source of calcium, iron, and vitamin A. Chipilín leaves are also rich in protein that is high in lysine. This makes chipilín a good protein supplement, increasing the nutritional quality of corn or other starch flour that the leaves are often prepared with. The ECHO Global Seed Bank is now offering sample packets of Chipilín seeds! 

To read more about it, click here to view a recent EDN article written by network member Andrea Guzmán Abril, Dietitian of Project CAN (Culinary, Agriculture, Nutrition)

FAO's ECOCROP available again! 2022-02-08

The FAO's crop tool ECOCROP is accessible again using this link: https://gaez.fao.org/pages/ecocrop-search. The plant database includes information about 2568 plants including optimum growing conditions such as temperature, rainfall, soil pH, and climate zone. It also contains, if available, information about the crop's uses (by plant part), life span, and other plant attributes! This tool has been a favorite of the ECHO staff for a long time. Please check it out to either search for a specific plant through the ECOCROP-Find Plants or look for what crops might fit your specific context through the ECOCROP - Search.