When most people think of Florida, they think of retirees, vacation resorts, and strange politics, but I think this place shows the potential of Florida. It could be a permaculture paradise instead of an eyesore. In this video, I continue the tour of ECHO Farm in Ft Myers, FL. Useful plants familiar to us, used-everyday-but-never-seen, and very unusual are on display in this tropical oasis in the desert of malls and condos. You should go there sometime in person, but until then you can take a little trip there in this video.
If you are ever in Florida, you have to check this place out. I was able to catch a ride down to ECHO Farms in Ft Myers, FL with the Sustainable Urban Agriculture Coalition of St Pete for their annual open house event. I’d known about this place for years, but hadn’t ever been. It surpassed even all the amazing things I’d heard about it. These next two videos are about the established gardens at ECHO, but I’ve also got footage about the many different sustainable systems they’ve implemented at their farm and that they share with people in Third World countries to help them become more self sufficient. But these systems aren’t just for people somewhere else. They are perfectly usable anywhere in the world. I’ll be doing separate videos about those systems and about the fruit tree nursery, where you can buy potted versions of everything you see in this video, plus much more.
One of the big reasons I wanted to go to Florida for the winter was to be able to eat delicious tropical fruit in season. Like most other places, because of our inefficient market-driven food system, it’s difficult to find locally grown fruit in any local stores. I had to search everywhere. Even the St Pete farmers market had a sparse selection of in season local fruit–oranges, grapefruit, and the occasional papaya. Like most places, using land to grow food just doesn’t pay compared with using it for high rise condos and shopping malls, so even when you can find “local” produce, it comes from over a hundred miles away. Fortunately, I made it to ECHO farms (see future videos for the tour), and one of the local flea markets also featured a wide assortment of unusual, but easily locally grown, tropical fruit thanks to some southeast Asian vendors.