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ECHO Global Food & Farm Fest this Saturday

By Staff | Mar 18, 2016

Southwest Florida’s biggest festival dedicated to sustainable living, agriculture, and food will return to ECHO Farm for its 25th year this weekend.

ECHO’s Global Food and Farm Festival returns Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., where thousands are expected to taste exotic foods, experience life in a foreign country, and explore the Global Farm, learning about food and culture in a new way.

Danielle Flood, ECHO spokesperson, said the event started as a way to introduce people to the ECHO Farm and was rebranded from farm day to what it is now to give it some extra appeal.

Last year, more than 2,000 people attended.

“Aside from our guided tours, you can walk at your own pace. There are lots of hands-on activities, cooking shows, so it appeals to culture of adults, families and the eco-minded,” Flood said. “We’ve done more publicity this year, so we’re excited about more coming.”

There will be numerous workshops, including propagating fruit trees, earthworms, landscaping with edible plants, fertilizers, bamboo, permaculture, fruit trees, perennials and composting.

Also featured will be five onstage cooking shows, with one chef creating a unique dish that attendees can taste, and the new technology center, which highlights ways to provide food, water and shelter worldwide, Flood said.

Other attractions will be three new international styled homes for people to tour – an Asian bamboo hut, African mud hut and a Latin wooden structure, giving visitors a chance to see how the rest of the world lives.

“Those will highlight ways to build what you need out of what you already have,” Flood said.

Farm tours, international food tastings, water-pump demonstrations, orange juice squeezing, peanut butter making, demonstrations on each of the regions, such as preventing erosion in the mountainous areas, and more will round out the event.

For the kids, there will also be a crafts section and, for the first time, an imagination playground, featuring everyday items.

“We have all recycled items such as cardboard boxes, paper towel tubes and egg cartons and we’ll build an imaginary city. They will be able to build a playhouse, a tunnel, a road and play and imagine what they can build,” Flood said.

Sponsors for the event include Scanlon Acura, Sun Harvest Citrus, LCEC and Publix.

Tickets are $5 per person if purchased in advance. You may also purchase tickets the day of the event for $7 per person, 10 and under free.

ECHO is at 17391 Durrance Road, off Bayshore Road, in North Fort Myers.

For more information, go to www.echonet.org.