Michelle McCabe Candidate Statement: Supporting Easton Farmers is Key to Our Resilience

My career was launched by local agriculture. I learned where my food came from in 2007 when I read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. It changed not only how I got my food but also my life’s calling. For the last 12 years, I have endeavored to find ways to strengthen our local food system through supporting growers, harvesters, and consumers. 

In my current role as the Director of the Center for Food Equity and Economic Development with the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport, I’m leveraging food waste to provide workforce training and food business launch for low-income area residents. Easton contributes mightily to our local food supply. I’m excited that as senator, I can partner with growers, harvesters, and consumers to support a sector that is necessary for our survival into the future.

My vision for the future of Connecticut centers on ensuring our collective resiliency, sustainability, and equity in all policies we pursue. Connecticut is entering a critical juncture where current events are forcing us to confront the realities of global warming, as well as economic and racial injustice. The success of local agriculture — the ability for farmers to be self-sustaining, for our food supply to be robust, and for season extension — is absolutely critical for our state and region to survive the supply chain disruptions caused by pandemic, extreme weather events, and economic fallout. 

We need to ensure that the infrastructure exists to protect and expand our local growing, including but not restricted to animal processing facilities, fruit and vegetable production and processing facilities, ocean farming, hoop houses, and other season extenders. 

Policies that can help the farming community be sustainable include reinforcing the symbiotic relationship between farms and green energy. I plan to help farmers diversify their revenue by partnering with solar and anaerobic digestion, exploring payment for carbon sequestering, and creating a market for seconds. I hope that working with local growers and harvesters, we can both ensure that farmers are financially successful while also providing fresh, local produce to all Connecticut residents, regardless of their income status. 

A strong, well-staffed, well-informed, and responsive Department of Agriculture, UCONN Extension, and Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station who are equipped with cutting-edge information, robust technical assistance capacity, and ability to grant-make to the farming community are necessary in order for Connecticut to come closer to providing enough food for our residents. I plan to ensure that these agencies are responsive to the needs on the ground, rather than relying on a top-down approach to the work at hand.

Easton’s farming community holds the key to our collective ability to be resilient and sustainable into the future. As your senator, I will ensure that Easton farmers and residents get the support they need to be successful.

Editor’s Note: This is McCabe’s first political statement. Per the Easton Courier Political Campaign Publication Policies, candidates may submit two statements, explaining their position.

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