Recently I entered the nursery at the ECHO Asia seed Bank for a quick look. I was surprised by the burst of color in one of the plant beds in which seeds recently acquired from communities in northern Thailand and Cambodia were being tested for germination and vigor. Vinny, the intern in charge of the test, explained that the multi-colored plastic spoons used to mark each seed were not only cheap and reusable but "way more cool" than boring white spoons. The seed bank staff also said that the previous array of white spoon markers looked a bit too much like headstones in a tiny cemetery, which they seemed to think was kind of depressing. So for a more cheerful looking seed vigor trial, multi-colored plastic spoons are definitely the way to go. Also note the phototropic effect going on with the bean seedlings.
A lot of people are working to bring positive change to communities, societies and the world. But in our business it's sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees. Working with the ECHO Asia Impact Center, I've been blessed with a certain vantage point. It's my goal to shed light on the good and practical that's being done to improve the circumstances of Asia's poor.
My wife, Ellen, and I have spent most of that past 25 years in S.E. Asia. In addition to earning BS and MS degrees in Plant and Soil Science (University of Tennessee), I spent two years (1985-1986) as an agricultural intern at the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center in the Philippines. Two years after our family moved to Thailand in 1994, we established the Upland Holistic Development Project (www.uhdp.org). UHDP focuses on improving the livelihoods of resource-poor upland families along the Thai-Burma border. Finally in 2009, we opened the ECHO Asia Impact Center in Chiang Mai, extending the presence and efforts of ECHO, based in Ft. Myers, Florida.