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ECHO kicks off Discovery Series

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Apr 1, 2021

From left, Kim Clarkson, Toni Pineda and Judy Collette spin wool from the Florida Cracker sheep on the ECHO Farm on Saturday during the Discovery Series. CHUCK BALLARO


When ECHO was unable to hold its annual Food & Farm Festival this year because of the pandemic, they pondered how to safely replace the event.

The decision was made to start something called the Discovery Series, a number of workshops designed to provide hands-on experiences, walking tours and other fun activities over the course of the spring.

Danielle Flood, ECHO’s communications director, said these workshops are an opportunity to learn and grow for area residents.

“We planned this so we can keep groups small but also provide an opportunity to grow the offerings we are able to provide,” Flood said. “We want to make it available to residents and snowbirds, so we invite everyone to come out. We want to make this a year-round event.”

This past weekend was the start of the event with two workshops on Friday, the Garden & Glass Tour and Fruit Tree Grafting, always a popular workshop.

Saturday provided an opportunity to learn about Bokashi Composting, or go to the farm and do a child-centric activity like petting goats.

Children and their parents had the opportunity to learn a little bit about what’s grown on the farm, try some of the edible plants, and have a chance to feed and love on the animals.

Melissa Rose, who brought her daughter from Lehigh Acres for the tour, said it was a lot of fun.

“I love being in nature and seeing it and how the goats live in their natural setting. I came two weeks ago for the tour, and I had a baby goat as a little girl on my grandma’s farm in Homestead,” Rose said. “When I saw they had a goat-feeding thing here, I told my daughter let’s do it.”

Melissa Artmann said she was more interested in the plants, while her son was amazed by the goats.

“I thought it was interesting how many plants they had and how holistic it all was. It was great to taste the plants they gave us,” Artmann said. “And the goats were very friendly.”

And if neither workshop held your fancy, there were three crafters at the ECHO store spinning wool gathered from the Florida Cracker sheep on the farm.

“They donate their sheep wool to us and it’s really dirty. We wash it and spin it,” said Kim Clarkson. “That helps make the yarn we donate to the gift shop, which they sell.”

The Discovery Series will continue on the weekends of April 23 and 24 and May 21 and 22.

The ECHO Global Farm is at 17391 Durrance Road.

For more information, or to book online, go to ECHOnet.org.