Category Topics

Agriculture, Nutrition, & Health

For too long agriculture and nutrition have been separate sectors of development. Producing more food does not insure less child malnutrition in farm families. What are some practical high-impact actions that every family can do to have children who...

Animal Options

Animals are very important to the small farm. Their integration into farming activities provides uses for many byproducts of the farm. They provide high-quality food, income, fertilizer, status, companionship, transportation, labor, and much more for rural families. But seasonal feed shortage and parasite problems can frustrate people’s efforts in animal husbandry.

Appropriate Technology

Appropriate Technology Technical Notes describe simple, small-scale technologies aimed at improving people's access to food, water, and shelter. Each document introduces and explains the general concept behind the technological solution, some even include instructions of how to construct your own.


Blogs written by ECHO staff.

Climate Change

ECHO promotes farming practices that help improve and keep farmland sustainably productive. These practices can also result in increased net carbon capture. However most of our documents (information) are intended to help farmers cope with changing climate and the annual variations that result. A main focus is on increasing resiliency and minimizing risk. How is your community helping capture carbon?

Community Gardens

ECHO continues to be motivated by agricultural and community-based needs and strives to make its technical resources available to both global and domestic organizations. Through the Community Garden Assistance Program, an expansion of our organization within southwest Florida, ECHO offers resources such as basic trainings and consultation for local garden projects. A unique perspective that ECHO brings to the domestic community gardening movement is a perspective of agriculture shaped by our work with small-scale farmers in many of the poorest regions of the world. We seek to provide an opportunity for practical and affordable ideas to be shared and communicated across the globe. This often takes the form of low-cost and low-input recommendations, which typically include the use of nutritious tropical perennials and subtropical plant varieties as part of a sustainable agricultural system.

ECHOcommunity Feedback and FAQ

Discussion about this site, its organization, how it works, and how we can improve it.

Exploring Careers

This ECHO Conversations category is not meant to substitute for the more robust job search sites, but is provided to meet an expressed need for a place to post opportunities appropriate to the ECHO network.

Network Event Postings

Does your organization have an event coming up that might be of interest to agricultural or community development workers? Post it here with details and a link for more information or to register. Please include the date of the event so we can ‘hide’ the posting once the event is in the past.


The plants category is the place for general discussions about plants and crops. This is a great place to ask for crop recommendations, as well as get help with what you're currently growing.

Seed Production and Storage

Seeds naturally have a place in almost any endeavor having to do with agricultural development. Seeds of most food plants are small and, as such, are more easily transported and can be shipped longer distances than vegetative cuttings. For the farmer, seeds represent the promise of a continued supply of food. As with any development “tool,” however, seeds can be misused. For instance, distributing improperly stored seeds that germinate poorly could expose farmers to risk of crop failure.

Urban Gardening

Many people today are finding themselves in situations where they need to produce food in what is considered unconventional agriculture conditions. Whether it be due to the restrictions of limited space, such is the case for those living in cities or challenges of work with community gardens, schools, or orphanages seeking self-sufficiency, ECHO offers resources to support the farming endeavors of those with little to no land. With solutions ranging from urban gardening on rooftops to growing food in feed-sacks and tires, these techniques show how farming can be done even with limited land and resources. Through the use of local and readily available resources these options can be easily accessible and cost effective ways of supplementing food and income for those facing the challenges of urban and community gardening.

ECHO Seed Bank Inquiries

The goal of the ECHO Seed Banks is to serve as a resource for development workers who wish to experiment with underutilized crops as they work to improve the lives of small scale farmers and gardeners. The seed bank maintains a collection of hard-to-find seeds that thrive under the often difficult growing conditions of the tropics and sub-tropics.


The world needs to produce an estimated 60 percent more food by 2050 to ensure global food security, and it must do so while conserving and enhancing the natural resource base. Water is a major input in the provision of food – from production in the field through all the steps in the value chain. Water is also required to meet personal and household needs, for energy and industrial production, and to maintain important water-dependent ecosystems and ecosystem services. With demand and competition for water on the rise, however, the planet’s water resources are under increasing stress due to climate change, poor management and pollution.