The 26th Annual ECHO®

International Agriculture Conference

November 19-21, 2019

Fort Myers, Florida

The ECHO® International Agriculture Conference

Why Attend?

Every year, this event brings together influential voices dedicated to eradicating hunger and improving lives through agriculture and community development. Speakers share practical solutions to agricultural challenges, personal experiences, and strategies for improving the lives of millions who daily face food insecurity. Our conference offers an open exchange of information, connecting the people and ideas that can make a real and sustainable difference.

Who Should Attend?

This conference will especially benefit current or aspiring international agricultural development workers. At this conference, you will get to network with professionals who share your context and your passions!

  • Short-term or career missionaries
  • National community leaders and farmers
  • Leaders of development/relief-oriented organizations
  • University undergraduate, graduate students and professors
  • International project volunteers (e.g. Peace Corps)
When
Tuesday - Thursday November 19-21, 2019

With optional post-event workshops on Friday, November 22.

Where
Fort Myers, Florida ECHO Global Farm & Crowne Plaza
Registration Closed
26th Annual Event

This year, we are excited to announce a very special lineup of speakers that you will get to hear from in our morning plenary sessions, afternoon workshops, and evening breakout sessions. Our speakers represent academics, professors, and practitioners in agriculture development.

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Appropriate Technology Fair

Experience the exciting Appropriate Technology Fair at this year's annual event!

    Appropriate Technology is a common interest amoung our network. This year, we want to highlight organizations who are involved in the work of Appropriate Technology.

    Wednesday afternoon, explore a selection of technology being used and promoted by organizations who are part of ECHO's network. During this time, organizations will share about their appropriate technologies on display and answer questions.

    Walk around the fair to spark ideas about new ways you can use appropriate technology in your work!

    Other Events at this year's conference:

    • Roland Bunch's Book Signing
    • Topic Tables during lunch
    • Recruiting lunch: a time for job seekers to connect with organizations
More Information about the Appropriate Technology Fair

Below you'll find the schedule for the 2019 ECHO International Agriculture Conference. We'll keep this page regularly updated with all the new speakers and sessions.

6:30 AM 8:00 AM

Breakfast & Late Registration

Check-in for those who do not arrive on Monday.
Breakfast at the hotel is complementary for guests staying at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.


8:00 AM 9:00 AM

Welcome, Devotions, and Announcements

David Erickson, ECHO President/CEO


9:00 AM 9:45 AM

Reconciling conservation and development in a changing world

Ben Lowe

Many of the most vulnerable human communities around the world are located in some of the most vulnerable or degraded ecosystems. As the impacts of climate and environmental change continue to grow, how can we flourish together on God’s earth without further harming each other or the rest of creation?


10:15 AM 11:00 AM

Creating Appropriate Technologies for People in Developing Countries

Dr. Greg Bixler

This talk will cover the Design Outreach (DO) appropriate technology design process as well as lessons learned and best practices. Included are aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset, human-centered design, as well as political, cultural, and economic factors that greatly affect the ability of a solution to reach scale.


11:00 AM 11:45 AM

The Role of Green Manure/Cover Crops in Smallholder Agriculture

Roland Bunch

Roland will present on how GM/CCs offer a long-term fertility and resiliance that smallholder farmers can afford.


12:30 AM 1:45 PM

Lunch

Lunch is served at the ECHO® Global Farm. (Included in your registration)

Regional Networking Tables: Eat lunch and network with others working in your region.


2:45 PM 3:15 PM

Break


4:30 PM AND 4:45 PM

Bus Departure

Transportation from the ECHO® Global Farm is provided at 4:30 and 4:45. Busses depart from the walkway in front of the Bookstore/Nursery.


5:00 PM 7:30 PM

Dinner

Dinner is a great opportunity for networking. Tuesday evening dinner is your choice, on your own.


6:15 PM 8:00 PM

Book Signing: Roland Bunch, Restoring the Soil 2nd Edition


 

7:00 - 8:00 PM

 

8:10 - 8:40 PM

ROOM A
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Update on Ongoing Moringa Research

Grace Ju Miller

Grace has been conducting Moringa research for 20 years with undergraduate students. This presentation will be a research update on moringa as an antibacterial plant and water purification option. Tissue culture and regeneration of moringa, as well as future use in biotechnology, nutrition and pharmacology will be discussed.


 
8:10 - 8:40 PM

Addressing Future Global Food Security Now

Kirsten Roe

To provide sufficient and affordable food for an estimated 9 to 12 billion people by 2050, crop yields will need to increase by 60-130%, cropland will need to expand, and inputs will need to be added. Future global food security needs to be addressed immediately. What is required for food security? How can each person play a role in assuring future food security?


ROOM B
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Mini-farms as Learning Tools in Senegal

Noah Elhardt

The Beersheba Project is a discipleship-based training farm in Senegal that provides an 11-month internship program. Now in its 8th year, Beersheba has trained over 120 interns from 12 countries while building up a profitable commercial farm with 20 full-time employees. Here we explore some of the lessons learned along the way. We will particularly examine the tension between the commercial and educational components of the farm, and the game-changing role that ownership- exemplified by our mini-farmshas played in adult learning for us.


 
8:10 - 8:40 PM

Permanent Raised Garden Beds

Josh Jamison

After years of struggling to grow vegetables in infertile, sandy soils, members of the h.e.a.r.t Village in Central Florida radically improved their growing conditions by building permanent raised garden beds. This form of no-till, sustainable gardening allows for high production in challenging locations because the soil can be sculpted from the ground up. This session will discuss the basics of building permanent raised bed gardens, maintaining soil fertility, annual cropping cycles and strategies for obtaining maximum food production on small spaces.


ROOM C
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Importance of Animal Source Food to Child Nutrition in Low and Middle Income Countries

Dr. Heather Anderson

This presentation will highlight the work occurring in the USAID Livestock Systems Innovation Lab that University of Florida hosts. Focus will be on research of how sustainable livestock systems improve human health, nutrition, and economic status.


 
8:10 - 8:40 PM

Moving Toward Sustainability- Harvesting 4 Haiti and Planting For Hope and Future

Gordon Clark

Our goal is to help reduce poverty by assisting a Haitian agriculture initiative with financial and business resources until they have become self-sustaining. This talk will discuss the challenges and successes this program has had. They have been able to purchase additional farmland from sales of produce. Crops grown include black beans, cowpeas, plantain, mango, limes, and soursop.


ROOM F
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Experiences in Solar Fruit Drying: Panel Discussion

Mike McLaughlin, Roger Gietzen, Erin McGuire, and Mary Benner

This session will be a discussion with practitioners and researchers who have been promoting solar fruit drying in the global south. The panel will discuss the various solar dryers they have been using along with the successes and challenges they have faced with the promotion of fruit drying.


 
8:10 - 8:40 PM

Developing the Next Generation of Leaders in International Agriculture Development

Dr. Natalie Coers

Who are the next leaders in international agricultural development work? The leadership gap continues to grow, especially in the non-profit sector. We will discuss a basic framework for leadership development, skills needed, and the role you can play through mentoring. Join this session to discover some practical tips and share your best practices.


6:30 AM 8:00 AM

Breakfast

Breakfast at the hotel is complementary for guests staying at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.


8:00 AM 9:00 AM

Worship, Devotions, and Announcements


9:00 AM 9:45 AM

Community Health Evangelism (CHE) 25 years later...

Dr. Bibiana MacLeod

As Bibiana settles into the next stage of her ministry life with her family, she looks back and reflects on the changes that Community Health Evangelism (CHE) has brought to the lives of their friends and co-workers in Haiti. Bibiana will take us for a virtual visit to the communities of Mombin Crochu and Bois de Laurence, enter the home of Aniesse in Lagwamit, hear their stories and see with our own eyes what worked, what did not, and what needs to be improved, adapted or left behind in community development from the bottom up.


10:15 AM 11:00 AM

Breadfruit products: untapped commercial potential

Mary McLaughlin

Fresh breadfruit is delicious but the real commercial potential lies with post-harvest products. In this session the array of retail breadfruit products being produced for local and export markets will be discussed.


11:00 AM 11:45 AM

Scaling horticulture technologies for small-scale farmers – From production to postharvest

Erin McGuire

The Horticulture Innovation Lab has worked to scale appropriate technology across the globe for over a decade. Fruits and vegetables, while producing healthy products and sound investments, can have unique challenges. This talk showcases technologies to mitigate these challenges, while drawing upon the lessons learned and obstacles overcome in the pathway to scale. Featuring: Nethouse for pest management, Drying bead, Zero Energy Cooling Chamber, Solar Dryer, and DryCard.


12:30 AM 1:45 PM

Lunch

Lunch is served at the ECHO® Global Farm. (Included in your registration)

Lunch and Learn Opportunities:

  • Get to know NGOs - Visitor Center (2)
  • Explore ECHOcommunity.org - Technical Classroom (6)


1:45 PM 3:15 PM

Appropriate Technology Fair


3:15 PM 3:45 PM

Break


3:45 PM 4:15 PM

Afternoon Workshops


 

Meet the Speaker

Location 2 - Visitor Center

Mary McLaughlin


 

Meet the Speaker

Location 6 - Technical Classroom

Erin McGuire


 

Meet the Speaker

Location J - Global Classroom

Bibiana MacLeod


4:30 PM AND 4:45 PM

Bus Departure

Transportation from the ECHO® Global Farm is provided at 4:30 and 4:45. Busses depart from the walkway in front of the Bookstore/Nursery.


5:00 PM 7:30 PM

Dinner

Dinner is a great opportunity for networking. Wednesday evening dinner is your choice, on your own.


 

7:00 - 8:00 PM

 

8:10 - 8:40 PM

ROOM A
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Mechanization of Conservation Agriculture

Will Austin

This presentation will cover ways that Institute for Affordable Transportation (IAT) and its partners have been creating appropriate technology to integrate mechanization into Farming God’s Way (FGW). IAT’s farming history began with food plot implements and then transitioned to conservation farming after receiving training at ECHO. Our goal is to provide tools that help smallholder farmers (specifically those who have mastered manual FGW and FFF techniques) to expand to 5 or 10 acres.


 
8:10 - 8:40 PM

Foodlife in Peace Building

Gordon Clark

'Foodlife' is a word coined by Toshihiro Takami, founder of the Asian Rural Institute (ARI), to describe the inseparable relationship between food and life. This concept guides the Food, Education and Sustainable Table (FEAST) process in this rural leader training program on an organic farm. In a world torn apart by ever increasing conflict, learn how FEAST fosters peacebuilding and reconciliation among people from various parts of the world.


ROOM B
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Determining Appropriate Technologies for Communities through Design and Analysis of a Market Assessment Survey (Case Study highlighted, Lake Bosomtwe, Ghana, West Africa)

Grace Baldwin

Agricultural extension farms provide a unique platform to facilitate educational infrastructure in the form of classroom settings and demonstration plots, and to facilitate extension outreach services. This workshop will specifically address how development workers can create, carryout, and critically evaluate primary survey data to propose appropriate technologies that address community needs within their target areas.


 
8:10 - 8:40 PM

Understanding the Power of Convergence

Dale Bolton

The mission of Thrive is to create a scalable model that empowers trainers to transform communities by teaching sustainable, natural and organic agriculture, enabling them to fight disease and generate income. This presentation will look at how Thrive uses the power of a multidisciplinary approach for development work, covering four emerging global trends that have a particularly important impact on developing countries, especially when they are all combined in one setting. The talk will also discuss how Thrive moved from using a top-down approach to problem-solving to a bottom-up approach.


ROOM C
7:00 - 8:00 PM

How Growing Fruits can Help People Get on a Path Out of Poverty: Lessons from Madagascar

Dan Turk

This talk will explore fruit tree programs; successes with tangerines (achieved) and mangos (in progress) will be presented as well as lessons learned from over 20 years of experience working with the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM). Dan will share pitfalls to avoid, mistakes to be minimized, and keys to success.


 
8:10 - 8:40 PM

Using High Tunnels and Mosquito Screening for Season Extension of Vegetables

Danny Blank and Ekachai Jaja

High tunnels can be a low-tech option for extending the season of high-value vegetable crops. 'Protected agriculture,' essentially greenhouse plastic above crops, is well known to dramatically improve crop production and value.


ROOM D
7:00 - 8:40 PM

Poster Session

Facilitated by Dr. Tim Motis and Stacy Swartz

ECHO Florida’s fifth annual poster session. Attendees who submitted a poster will present their research findings.


ROOM F
7:00 - 8:40 PM

Latin America/Caribbean Networking Session

Facilitated by ECHO® LAC Team

We invite all those involved, or interested in being involved, in Latin America and the Caribbean to join this session for a time of connecting with each other, and hearing brief updates about ECHO’s support to the regional network. We will highlight recent resources and opportunities, particularly for the Haiti and Central American networks.


6:30 AM 8:00 AM

Breakfast

Breakfast at the hotel is complementary for guests staying at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.


8:00 AM 8:45 AM

Worship, Devotions, and Announcements


8:45 AM 9:30 AM

Peanuts and aflatoxin: The potential and challenges for the world’s most widely grown legume

Jamie Rhoads

Practical information regarding controling aflatoxin in peanuts and increasing productivity of this crop.


9:45 AM 10:30 AM

Unleashing the value of neglected and underutilized crop diversity: Linking climate adaptation, nutrition, markets and agrobiodiversity value chains for smallholders in Guatemala

Nadezda Amaya

Using findings from a Rapid Market Appraisal, Nadezda will present her experience on a project that sought to connect Neglected and Underutilized Species to Guatemalan markets.


10:30 AM 11:15 AM

Growing Families that Flourish in God’s Kingdom

Debbie Dortzbach

As couples work to enrich their relationship as God designed, the entire family will flourish. This session will describe the opportunity churches and communities have to strengthen couple relationships within families, promote a sustainable earth, and help families promote family nutrition and economic growth.


11:15 AM

Group Photo


12:30 AM 1:45 PM

Lunch

Lunch is served at the ECHO® Global Farm. (Included in your registration)

Regional Networking Tables: Eat lunch and network with others working in your region.


2:45 PM 3:15 PM

Break


4:30 PM AND 4:45 PM

Bus Departure

Transportation from the ECHO® Global Farm is provided at 4:30 and 4:45. Busses depart from the walkway in front of the Bookstore/Nursery.


6:30 PM 8:00 PM

Closing Banquet

Crowne Plaza Hotel Ballroom

7:00 AM 7:45 AM

Late Registration

Last minute registration is open for delegates who have not registered prior to Friday's workshop.


7:45 AM

Post Conference Departure

Transportation is offered for those who are registered for post-conference workshops.

* Please do not be late, we will not be able to return to the hotel if you miss the departure.


8:30 PM 12:00 PM

Morning Session

These all-day courses provide in-depth and hands-on training. This year we have two options.

12:00 PM 1:30 PM

Lunch

Lunch is provided at the farm.


1:30 PM 3:30 PM

Afternoon Session

A continuation of the post conference workshops.


4:30 PM

Departure For Hotel

ECHO transportation will return delegates to the conference hotel where they can take the hotel transport to the airport or make other travel arrangements.


Join the Event

Opportunities are available for the full conference, student and spouse rates, one-day passes, post-conference workshops, and exhibitor displays.

If you are a student, a former ECHO course participant, or will be attending the conference in a group of 3 or more, please email conference@echonet.org to inquire about discounts. Please be ready to show evidence of your student status and/or group membership mentioned above.

One-Day Pass

$ 130

Lodging not included.

Attend Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday

  • Morning Plenary Sessions Yes
  • Lunch Yes
  • Afternoon Workshops Yes
  • Evening Sessions or Thursday Banquet Yes
Email for more information

Full Event

$ 395

Lodging not included.

Get the full benefit of our three day conference!

  • All Sessions & Workshops Yes
  • Lunches Yes
  • Digital Resources Yes
  • Banquet Yes
  • Certificate Yes

Spouse Registration

$ 150

Lodging not included.

Join your spouse for the full conference experience!

  • All Sessions & Workshops Yes
  • Lunches Yes
  • Digital Resources Yes
  • Banquet Yes
  • Certificate Yes
+ Post Conference Workshop
$ 50

Restoring the Soil: How to Use Green Manure/Cover Crops

All day Friday. Add a day of intensive interactive learning on ECHO's farm. Only one post conference workshop can be selected.

Lead by: Roland Bunch

  • All Day Training Yes
  • Your Choice of Topics Yes
  • Lunch Yes
  • Transportation Yes
More Details
+ Post Conference Workshop
$ 50

Casting the Vision for Community Health Evangelism (CHE)

All day Friday. Add a day of intensive interactive learning, on ECHO's farm. Only one post conference workshop can be selected.

Lead by: Dr. Bibiana & Alexander Macleod

  • All Day Training Yes
  • Your Choice of Topics Yes
  • Lunch Yes
  • Transportation Yes
More Details
+ Exhibitor Table
$ 100

Add a display area to highlight your organization or project.

  • Reserve a 6' Display Table Yes
  • Located at the Crowne Plaza Yes
  • Set up Monday night Yes
More Details

Registration closed on November 1, 2019.

Transportation & Lodging

Conveniently located near the ECHO Global Farm, the Crowne Plaza Hotel hosts morning plenary sessions and evening breakout sessions. Lunch and afternoon workshops take place at the ECHO Global Farm. Transportation between the hotel and the farm are provided by ECHO.

Please note that the conference registration fee does not include your hotel stay, and you will need to book your room directly through the hotel. Use group code "ECH" to receive the discounted conference rate. You can book your room by calling the Crowne Plaze Hotel at 239-482-2900

Crowne Plaza Hotel - Fort Myers at Bell Tower Shops

13051 Bell Tower Dr, Fort Myers, FL 33907 USA

Call 239-482-2900 and mention the code "ECH" to get the event rate

Transportation is provided from the Crowne Plaza Hotel to and from ECHO's Global Farm each day. If you have your own vehicle, you are welcome to drive yourself.

Arrival By Car

The conference hotel is located approximately 5 miles west of Interstate 75 on Daniels Parkway.

Directions To The Hotel

Arrival by Plane

The hotel offers complimentary transportation to and from the Fort Myers airport. We highly recommend that you book all travel to Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW).

There are several large international airports within 2-4 hours drive from the conference including Fort Lauderdale(FLL), Miami (MIA), Tampa(TPA), and Orlando(MCO). We do not recommend flying into these airports unless you can arrange your own transportation to Fort Myers, as we are unable to assist with airport transportation to these airports. You may be able to share a ride with another delegate. Click the links above to go to each airport's ride-sharing page.

Important Information for International Travelers



Planning your arrival

Read below for information on how to best travel to the ECHO Conference and what to bring with you!


Arrival by plane in Fort Myers

The hotel offers complimentary transportation to and from the Fort Myers airport. We highly recommend that you book all travel to Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW).

Arrival by plane in other Florida airports

There are several large international airports within several hours drive from the conference venue including Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Miami (MIA), Tampa (TPA), and Orlando (MCO). These are not recommended as we do not provide transportation to and from these airports. Each of these airports are:

  1. 3-4 hours away from Fort Myers
  2. Require a rental car to drive to Fort Myers
  3. Miami (MIA) has limited public transportation: Greyhound Bus to Fort Myers
    • Customer service number: +1 (214) 849-8966
    • local office: +1 (239) 334-1011)

If you book a rental car ahead of time, you can usually get a good price, from $20 / day. You will need car insurance (most major credit cards will have rental insurance built in- check with your bank). If you are able to carpool with other delegates, this is a good way to save money.

We have created a forum on ECHOcommunity.org for ride sharing. You must be a member of our website and sign in to use the forum. Please sign in and then follow the link to the forum here.

Ride Share Forum


Hotel

The conference registration fee does not include hotel costs. The ECHO International Agriculture Conference encourages guests to take advantage of the reduced–cost hotel rate through the Crowne Plaza Hotel, where the Conference will be held. This is typically $96.00/night (before tax) per room.

If you are able to room with another attendee, this will lower costs. ECHO does try to match single attendees who are traveling alone with others who are interested in sharing a room. ECHO will only match women with women, and men with men.

Sign up for room share!


What to Pack

ECHO's International Agriculture Conference has a casual dress code. Time will be spent inside and on the farm, so please wear comfortable clothing.

November in Southwest Florida is the beginning of the cold season, and the air conditioning in the hotel is usually even colder. If you are used to more tropical climates, please pack a light sweater or other warm clothing. Average temperatures Highs / Lows in November are 81° / 62°F or 27.2°C / 16.7 °C. We recommend bringing:

  • A light jacket that can get wet
  • A water bottle
  • Sunscreen
  • A hat
  • Bug spray
Conference Resources

What does an ECHO International Agriculture Conference look like?
Check out these videos from previous year's morning plenary speakers:

November 14, 2018

15 underutilized crops for improving the lives of smallholder farm families - Josh Jamison

Despite the incredible diversity of useful plants that exist, a small handful of crops feed the majority of the world...

November 13, 2018

The Answer Is In The Room - Dr. Karen Stoufer

One of our most important roles as we work in rural communities is to train others so that knowledge and skills can be effectively passed on and learning continue...

November 15, 2018

Comments From 2018 Delegates

If you're wondering what you might get out of an ECHO Conference, listen to what previous attendees have to say about the experience. This video is a compilation of short remarks taken during the course of the 2018 conference.

Food & Drink

Breakfast

If you are a paying guest at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, breakfast is included. Breakfast usually consists of pastries, boiled eggs, cereal, fruit, milk, coffee, and juice.

Lunch

Lunch is provided each day at the ECHO® Global Farm.

Dinner

Thursday's banquet dinner is included in your conference registration Please plan to make your own dinner arrangements on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

There are many restaurants in walking distance of the conference hotel. Below we have provided some resources if you are looking for a place to eat:

The resources and networking opportunities that make the ECHO International Agriculture Conference unique are available year-round through ECHOcommunity.org

Join Today