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U.S. EPA Administrator Johnson recognizes Bay Area farmers with Presidential Award

Release Date: 08/22/2008
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, 415/947-4248, chavez.wendy@epa.gov

(San Francisco, Calif. -- 08/22/08) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson today honored husband and wife family farmers with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for their leadership in sustainable erosion control, water conservation, and integrated pest management practices they have implemented on their 25-acre farm in Half Moon Bay, Calif.


    John Muller and his wife Eda, family farmers growing pumpkins and other crops along the coast of Half Moon Bay, are committed to sustainable urban agricultural practices, and routinely open their farm to individuals and groups to promote environmentally-friendly farming. Farmer John, as he is known, has spoken to thousands of farmers and non-farmers alike -- and groups as diverse as travel writers, executive chefs, and regulatory agency staff -- to ensure that environmentally-friendly farming is understood and supported by more and more people.

    “Today we honor John and Eda Muller for answering President Bush's call to serve a cause greater than themselves,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “Dedicated volunteers like the Mullers are inspiring others to join them in delivering America a brighter, healthier future."

    The Mullers also host physically-challenged children at their farm, and use the lessons of the farm to encourage respect and understanding for others. The husband and wife team also donate surplus produce from the farm to seniors and others on limited incomes.

    In addition to volunteer service, John Muller was the first pumpkin farmer on the Half Moon Bay coast to install drip irrigation. Together with other water conservation practices, he has achieved a 34 percent reduction in water usage. Muller is a leader in promoting sustainable urban agricultural practices in his local community and at the state and national level.

    Muller’s efforts have resulted in reduced water consumption, reduced pesticide use, and less soil erosion and sedimentation in the sensitive watershed area that drains to the Monterey Bay Sanctuary. These practices result in long-term improvements in sensitive habitat along the San Mateo coast and throughout the Pacific Western region. His work as a policy maker has further promoted environmentally sound agricultural and land use practices, resulting in improved water quality and resource management.

    Muller has also provided leadership on issues of water quality, water supply and resource management as a San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board member for 12 years -- seven as a board chair -- as a Half Moon Bay City Council member, as a member of the U.S. EPA Local Government Advisory Committee and formerly a member of the Coast Side County Water District Board. He is currently vice mayor of the city of Half Moon Bay.

    The President's Volunteer Service Award was created at the President’s direction by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The award is available to youth ages 14 and under who have completed 50 or more hours of volunteer service; to individuals 15 and older who have completed 100 or more hours; and to families or groups who have completed 200 or more hours. For more information about the award, please visit http://www.presidentialserviceawards.gov./
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