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Tropical Agricultural Development II
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Course Description:

This intermediate class is geared toward experienced overseas workers with involvement in agricultural development or those who have participated in Tropical Agricultural Development I. This is a week-long course offered at the ECHO farm in North Fort Myers, Florida. Course attendees will participate in an in-depth look at new and different subjects that will be announced after the first of the year. This course is a combination of small classroom instruction, hands-on work on the farm, visits with staff, and study in the library. Much of the course content is presented from a biblical perspective.

Who the course is for:


Those who will benefit from this course include long-term or career missionaries, international project volunteers (e.g., Peace Corps), and leaders of relief-oriented organizations. This is an intermediate level course, therefore an understanding of plant and soil biology would be helpful.


ECHO does not provide Visa invitation letters for international course attendees. If you are an international applicant, you must fill out an International Registrants Additional Information Form in addition to your registration. Anyone needing a visa in order to attend any of our courses must have their visa in place at least 30 days prior to the start of the class.



Registration Fee $645.00.

*You must register online, and be a member of ECHOCommunity to register for courses.


Payment is required in full at the time of registration. Applications will be cancelled if payment is not receive with registration. For any payment inquiries please email

Registration fees include:

·         Week-long course

·         Meals (Sunday evening through Saturday morning). ECHO is not able to accommodate those with special dietary needs or food allergies.  Please plan accordingly.

·         Housing (Will be dormitory style.  We have very limited facilities for couples to share their own room. Please plan accordingly)

·         Towels and bedding are provided.

Registration does not include:

·         Transportation to or from the Airport

Cancellation Policy - ECHO Classes: 

ECHO requires at least 2-weeks notice of cancellation to receive a full refund of your fees. If less than 2-weeks notice is given, a refund will not be issued. 

These courses are interest-driven, therefore we reserve the right to cancel a course due to lack of interest.  Should a cancellation be necessary, we will do so two weeks before the first day of class.

 2016 Dates and Topics:

Agroforestry and Perennial Cropping- April 6-8

Livestock and Small-scale Animal Production Systems- September 20-22

Current Course Descriptions:

Agroforestry/Perennial Cropping

With drought, torrential rain and other weather extremes challenging agricultural productivity worldwide, the need for resilient smallholder farming systems is greater than ever.  Biodiverse agroforestry systems, largely composed of perennial crops, offer the resilience needed to maintain global food security.  This three-day course will feature staff-led presentations to introduce key agroforestry concepts, inspections of ECHO’s various agroforestry and perennial cropping installations and practicums providing hands-on establishment of new food forest plantings and the maintenance of productive plots.  The course will also include significant involvement by Eric Toensmeier, award-winning author of Paradise Lot and Perennial Vegetables, and the co-author of Edible Forest Gardens.

Course participants will also be eligible for a 50% discount on an ECHO special event (A Day with Eric Toensmeier) scheduled for Saturday, April 9, 2016. If you are interested in participating in this special event you can register here.

Appropriate Technology

ECHO’s appropriate technology (AT) philosophy is to “use what you have to make what you need.” Focusing on technologies related to our basic needs of food, water and shelter, this course will cover water pumps, water treatment, efficient cookstoves, threshing and milling as well as basic ideas related to shelter construction and materials.  This four-day course will not only introduce these key AT concepts, but also provide opportunity for participants to engage in hands-on activities.

Livestock and Small-scale Animal Production Systems
Integrating animals into the small farm offers many opportunities for enhancing food production, ecosystem stability and socio-economic resilience.  Livestock and poultry are considered extremely important components of sustainable smallholder farming systems, providing a range of valuable resources to farmers throughout the tropics in the form of food, income, manure and other services. This Small-Scale Livestock Production TAD will expose participants to the foundational principles of animal production in a tropical, small-scale farming context.  Over three days, special attention will be given to the production of ruminants (cattle and goats), pigs, rabbits and poultry.  Discussions and activities will include feeding systems, animal health and slaughter techniques. 

Past Course Descriptions:

Underutilized Tropical Plants

Course attendees will participate in an in-depth look at various edible underutilized tropical crops. We will spend three days dedicated to learning about growing, propagating, and harvesting various crops, including vegetables, starches and grains. Participants will research potential underutilized crops for select climatic and/or geographic zones (particularly how to identify and promote such crops). This course will also examine economic and social factors affecting the production and use of underutilized tropical crops as well as consider case studies.

Gardening in the Tropics

In this advanced TAD course participants will engage in innovative practices related to fruit and vegetable production in often challenging tropical conditions. Special attention will be paid to soil, fertilizer, water, crops, garden design and pest control. Participants will gain extensive hands-on-training in addition to classroom work. Gardening in the Tropics is an opportunity to actively apply agricultural principles that are geared toward tropical conditions.

General daily schedule:

There are a minimum of four sessions per day, two morning, two afternoon sessions, and an evening session with breaks for meals and networking provided.

Classes begin at 8:00AM daily and the last afternoon session ends at 5:00PM. Evening sessions begin at 7:00pm and run 90 minutes.



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