Wildflowers fill my grandma’s garden — the origin of my curiosity for the world around us. I am a photographer, a designer, an English as a Second Language teacher, and a farmer. My diverse passions unite through the necessity of patience, listening, and observation. These are all skills that began in the garden when I was a child. My name is Kayla Hatcher, and I am the current Semi-Arid Intern at ECHO.
In 2012, I graduated from Milligan University with a BA in Fine Arts Photography. Before ECHO, I spent six years working with multiple organizations on four continents. During that time, I watched communities on the Burma border, in Palestinian refugee camps, in downtown St. Louis, and the mountains of Japan use regenerative systems to heal the land and unite divided communities. It was an alignment of my passions that I had only begun to imagine. ECHO’s internship provided me the opportunity to pivot my career towards agriculture development work.
Each day at ECHO offers discovery. New plants, new soil, new insects, new technologies, and new people. Working with international partners on design consultations has been a highlight of my time here. Their questions have guided my research; their experimentations have fueled my own. The relationships formed on the farm, over tea, and on video calls across the ocean accentuate the unique gift of this
diverse community, a glimpse into the infinite love of God for all people, all cultures, and the soil that unites them.
After ECHO, I will continue to pursue the passion that began in my grandma’s garden. From permaculture consultation to mobilization, I hope to partner with those living in post-conflict semi-arid regions. It is the entrepreneurial and cultural wisdom of smallholder farmers that will regenerate the land and unite communities through the observation and nurturing of a common ground.
Top: Volunteer Susan Lucia and Kayla pause for celebration after completing a large planting project in the semi-arid region of ECHO’s Global farm. Susan has mentored seven semi-arid interns.Bottom: Integrating animals into regenerative agricultural systems (and spending time with Moiyo the calf) has been a treasured part of Kayla’s internship.