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.
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.