What an amazing day!
On a recent stay in Fort Myers, at the encouragement of our friends, we visited ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization). What we learned was astounding!
Our morning began with a informational video about the organization. The guide explained the geographical barriers of cultivating food in such a way that our children understood the difficulty of growing food in urban areas or on mountain side villages, rendering farmers poor. Once we understood the geographical barriers, the guide escorted our small group out to the working farm where volunteers research and experiment to overcome geographical barriers with no waste. My children observed how problem solving skills, out-of-the-box thinking, can feed people. Their solutions, innovative.
The organization also provides seeds, plants, and agricultural knowledge to farmers struggling to provide food for their families. They research raising animals and finding ways to reuse or re-purpose everything, all in hopes to use what can be used naturally in areas where agriculture is difficult.
My children were introduced to turkens, a breed of chicken which can survive in tropical climates because their their necks are featherless. They stay cooler than the chickens with which we are familiar with.
Amazing agricultural engineering. Use what people have access to. Make is sustainable. Waste nothing.
The visit reminded me of my our friend John Drake whose creative genius, ingenuity, and determination brought self-sustaining windmills to Malawi. He recognized a problem. He surveyed the resources available to the people. He created a solution. Through his non-profit, African Windmill Project, John has not only designed a windmill to bring water to crops, but also has empowered the people of the area to use what they have available to sustain the equipment they install to help them solve their irrigation issues. Ingenuity.
At ECHO we learned geography, engineering, agriculture, science, and math. But perhaps the greatest take away was my children interacting and listening to people who were not afraid to ask questions, to recognize a problem, and then find a solution, using what was available. Reminds me of the biographies we have read about the Wright Brothers, Edison, and others who have used what they had available to them to make a difference: seeing a problem, finding a solution.