Farmer Steve Munno from Massaro Farm Fights for Small Farms and Sustainable Agriculture in D.C.

Apr 23rd, 2011 | By | Category: Featured Story

Woodbridge, Connecticut — Tuesday, April 12, 2011 — Steve Munno, Farm Manager at Massaro Farm in Woodbridge, Conn., travelled to the nation’s capitol recently to meet with Congressional leaders to show his support for small farm and sustainable agriculture federal programs, which are currently facing possible death sentences. Munno was joined by more than 30 farmers, ranchers and conservationists from around the country, an effort spearheaded by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

Massaro Farm was recently awarded funding through Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  This award shares the cost of fencing to keep deer out, a high tunnel to extend the growing season, planting native species to prevent erosion, provide wind breaks and attract beneficial insects essential for pollination.  “We are lucky to have received this grant before funding for the program disappears. With the current proposed cuts, there might not be any funds available next year,” Munno said.

Recent proposed budget cuts have focused on programs that protect the environment, increase economic opportunity, serve beginning and minority farmers, and ensure proper nutrition for low-income families.  In addition to EQIP, the programs facing cuts or complete elimination include: the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (ATTRA), Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG), and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

Over 30 farmers from across the country met at the nation’s capitol recently to fight for small farms and sustainable agriculture.

Munno met with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and her staff, as well as members of Congressman Joe Courtney’s staff and Senator Blumenthal’s team.  The message Munno brought was clear. The federal programs for small farms and sustainable agriculture have had a tremendously positive impact on Massaro Farm, farms in CT, and farms across the country.  Munno said, “The support we’ve had through these programs has allowed us to make improvements to our farm that otherwise would not have been possible.  With these improvements, we’re able to provide more food to our community and operate more sustainably.”

What response did Munno receive from the Congressional leaders?

“We’re extremely fortunate in Connecticut to have representatives in Congress who understand the importance of agriculture to communities throughout the state.  I feel confident that Representatives DeLauro and Courtney, along with Senator Blumenthal, will work hard to protect farms and programs like EQIP that can be so beneficial” Munno stated.  And what about Senator Lieberman?  “I was not able to meet with anyone from Lieberman’s staff, however I intend to have some dialogue with them about these serious issues in the near future.”

About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, 110 Maryland Ave, NE, Suite 209 Washington, DC 20002

About Massaro Farm

Massaro Community Farm is non profit farm on a 57 acres parcel of land in Woodbridge, Connecticut. Our mission is to preserve the farm for growing food, to feed those in need, and to educate our community about sustainable agriculture, enhancing the quality of life for generations.

Who Attended:

Arkansas: Paul Casey, Heifer Ranch Learning Center
California: Cindy Lashbrook, Riverdance Farm and Juan Perez, JP Organics
Connecticut: Steve Munno, Massaro Farm
Georgia: Allen Miles, Miles Berry Farm and Lynn Pugh, Cane Creek Farm
Maryland: Joan Norman, One Straw Farm, Mike Tabor, Licking Creek   Bend Farm and Sarah Rider,  Flying Plow Farm   Maine: Brady Hatch, Morning Dew Farm and Bob Spear, Spear’s Vegetable Farm
Michigan: Chris Bardenhagen, Bardenhagen Farm
Missouri: Joe Wilson, Missouri Northern Pecan Growers LLC
North Dakota: Terry Jacobson, North Outback Farm
Nebraska: Krista Dittman, Branched Oak Farm
:  Kurt Bench, Shared Legacy Farm, Marty Warnecke, Warnecke Farms and Erin Swenson – Klatt, Slow Food Oberlin
Oregon: Jim Bronec, Praying Mantis Farm
Pennsylvania: Helen Elkins, Buck Run Farm
Vermont:  Mimi Arnstein, Wellspring Farm CSA
Wisconsin: Jenny Meudt, Pinn-Oak Ridge Farm

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