In 2011, ECHO launched ECHOcommunity.org, the online collaborative membership community of ECHO. ECHOcommunity.org connects over 16,000 small-scale farmers, and those working to eliminate world hunger, with essential resources, and each other. These resources include a vast knowledge base of practical information, experienced technical support and an extensive seed bank focused on highly beneficial underutilized plants. In 2017, a forum called “Conversations” was added to ECHOcommunity.org to create an easier way for users to connect not only with ECHO but with each other. Before ECHOcommunity and the internet, a coffee grower in the highlands of Guatemala had no means to share methods of combating leaf rust with a farmer in Ethiopia, a land of similar environment, or with ECHO headquarters in Fort Myers. Now, that grower can post their discovery on the online forum where everyone can learn.
ECHO opened the East Africa and West Africa Impact Centers in 2012 and 2014, respectively. These connecting hubs allow ECHO’s training and research to reach more small-scale farmers than ever before.
Nearly every aspect of ECHO’s ministry has experienced substantial growth. More than 800 volunteers give over 75,000 hours of work yearly. We now have eight interns who reside, work and receive training for 14 months on the farm followed by an optional six month extension with one of our Impact Centers. More than 10,000 visitors tour our demonstration farm each year and agricultural development workers from around the world spend from a few days to a few months at ECHO where they use the library, attend seminars and conferences, and work alongside the interns in their projects for practical, hands-on experience.
In more than 40 years of existence ECHO has matured from an idea into global network of hope! Today, ECHO reaches millions of small-scale farmers in more than 190 countries. ECHO Development Notes are still in circulation and questions are answered daily. Knowledge is shared, livelihoods are transformed, and hope is found.