For the past 26 years, the ECHO Global Food and Farm Festival has been about much more than just the food. It has focused on sustainable living and agriculture as well.
On Saturday, thousands of people are expected to pack the farm for a day of food, cooking and learning about how to grow exotic foods in ways many poor nations do worldwide.
The Global Food and Farm Festival, with Physicians Primary Care as the title sponsor, will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature new attractions, according to Danielle Flood, ECHO spokesperson.
"It's a chance for residents to learn about sustainable lifestyles and food, including plants that grow well here that draw from the expertise of ECHO, a local non-profit that works internationally with food and nutrition," Flood said.
The event will start with "Coffee: Grow, Grind, Brew," which will explore the many ways you can brew your favorite coffee and offer free coffee from The Grind Coffeehouse and Roasters to all attendees.
Kombucha, which is in latest health food craze, will be at 11 a.m., will show how to make it at home, followed by Jerk chicken with green papaya slaw and citrus relish, made with ingredients from the ECHO Farm by the chef at South Seas Island Resort in Captiva.
Finally, back by popular demand, "The Volcanic Wok Pad Thai," is at 2 p.m., where people will learn how to make the Asian dish at home.
Flood said they will also make an avocado cake for the first time, with batter made from two cups of avocado and hiding the nutrition.
The kids will get to make crafts out of reusable items and learn about the animals and plants around the farm in age-appropriate lessons.
As in previous years, people will get to squeeze their own orange juice, grind their own peanut butter, take tours of the farm and sample fruits and vegetables to which they may not be accustomed.
There will be a live bluegrass band performing, which is also a first.
Flood said this event is for anyone willing to learn about exotic foods, how to grow them and how people in other parts of the world live.
"There are demonstrations for people of all ages. Adults can go on their own and see what's to taste and learn and maybe see the ECHO video and check out a workshop," Flood said. "It's an opportunity. This kind of knowledge isn't available everywhere. So, we offer it as a service to the community."
Tickets are $5 per person, 8 and under are free if purchased in advance. Tickets are $7 the day of the event.
ECHO is at 17391 Durrance Road, off Bayshore Road, in North Fort Myers
For additional information, please visit echonet.org.