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ECHO Farm Fest offers taste of the world

By Staff | Mar 20, 2019

If you went to ECHO’s annual Global Food & Farm Festival and went to the tropical rainforest section, it actually felt like a rainforest.

Rain was among the main features for this year’s event, but that didn’t stop visitors from making the trek to the farm to see what it’s about, learn about how world farmers are able to feed their people, and try some of the foods they eat on a daily basis.

The day started with the traditional demonstration on coffee, done by Nate Flood, who told those who came to savor coffee as if it was wine and to remember that the darker the roast, the stronger the flavor and the less caffeine it has.

“We want to talk about how the food gets planted, how it’s harvested, distributed, and the most fun is how we eat it,” Flood said. “We have chefs who talk about how we cook and consume food to enjoy it the best. With coffee, we talk about how it gets from the ground into your cup.”

There were traditional food offerings such as orange juice, sugar cane juice and peanut butter, but also some outside the box recipes, such as moringa pesto and black bean brownies.

Those recipes were offered by the Club Hope Clubhouse, a Fort Myers organization which helps those living with mental illness.

“These were made in our kitchen. Everyone here has a mental health disorder, and we made these recipes and came to tell people what we’re about,” said member Scott Sylte.

Also at ECHO were kindergartners from Babcock Neighborhood School, who taught and sang songs to festival goers about the importance of recycling.

“You can only recycle cardboard, paper and plastic and glass. If you don’t recycle, the earth gets full of landfills,” said student Alliana Harbin.

“Recycling is a good thing for the earth because the landfills are destroying the earth, so we have to recycle to not make more of them,” said student Connor Branning. “We recycle every night and the guy takes it away.”

There were also workshops on grafting, a bamboo tour, a demonstration on cooking via induction, biogas, worm farming, use of native plants, gardening in the forest, container gardening and much more.

One thing you can say about those who came; they were brave enough to deal with the elements. Danielle Flood, communications director, said advance sales of tickets were up, which helped soften the blow.

“It’s only drizzling, so we’re happy the festival is going on without a problem. Everyone is having a great time and seeing what the festival has to offer,” Flood said. “People from all walks of life are here. Grandparents, families and even young singles are here to share their passion.”

Alissa Perri of Cape Coral was among the young adults who came, as she has a friend who works at ECHO.

“She had been recommending we come to one of these events and we are so glad we did. It’s been a blast even in the rain,” Perri said. “We enjoyed the live animal farming with the goats and pigs and fun educational things for the kids. It was a blast.”