Less than three months after moving into the new ECHO Asia office in late March our demonstration garden is growing like gangbusters.
A rainy "dry season" helped the perennials get established quickly. Fortunately, we've been able to stay ahead of the weeds. And annuals, such as okra, vegetable amaranth and sweet corn are already producing. Produce is being shared with the neighbors. But with an urgent need for seed, Wah (our seed bank manager) called dibs on the sweet corn.
Jamis Koknevics, born in Latvia, raised in Belgium and educated in the UK, spent the last several months interning with ECHO Asia. Soon after arriving, we assigned him to upgrade the seed bank's water supply. With access to UHDP's reservoir, we needed an efficient means of pumping water from the pond to two large plots where several dozen moringa trees (PKM-1)are being established for seed production. Janis researched the best means of delivering the water to these trees.
The result is a grid of PE tubing with appropriately spaced spray nozzles. The new irrigation system will also enable dry season production of other seed bank crops grown between the trees. We're very grateful for Janis' involvement at the ECHO Asia Seed Bank and wish him the best as he prepares to further his education.
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.