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ECHO Global Farm feeding families during pandemic

A Lee County farm is harvesting its produce to feed families that have fallen on hard times due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Vegetables and fruits planted on Andy Cotarelo’s 57-acre ECHO Global Farm in North Fort Myers are being donated to Southwest Florida food pantries and Immokalee’s migrant community.

“Vegetables like carrots and kohlrabi, different greens, papaya, yams,” Cotarelo said.

“We started being more intentional about harvesting the produce from the farm and using it to be a blessing to the community around ECHO.”

ECHO interns like Emily Kinzer help harvest and prepare the produce for donation.

“It’s been really cool to be able to have all of our produce go somewhere that’s meaningful,” she said. “Especially in this extra hard time.”

“The last two weeks it’s been about 310 pounds on the average that we’ve been able to give to Cultivate Abundance,” Cotarelo said.

“Cultivate Abundance” serves low-income migrant farmer communities in Immokalee, and the program’s director, Rick Burnette, picks up the produce to feed those affected by the pandemic.

“We’re grateful for what ECHO is doing, providing this wonderful quality produce that’s going to farmworker households in Immokalee, and those people are rockstars,” Burnette said.

ECHO will harvest on Thursday and Friday to donate more produce to local food banks.

If you have a need, you can call ECHO Global Farm in North Fort Myers at (239) 543-3246 or email [email protected]. You can also visit their website to learn more.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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