A. Richard Bonanno, Ph.D., has dedicated his career to raising flowers and vegetables and working for food safety. He is owner and operator of Pleasant Valley Gardens of Methuen, Mass., where he grows potted flowering plants, bedding plants, vegetable transplants and 50 acres of vegetables for wholesale markets.
Richard was a tenured professor at North Carolina State University before he returned to work at the family farm with his father, Angelo; his wife, LuAnne; and his daughter, Heather.
He is president of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF), which advocates for agriculture and forestry. At UMass Amherst, he is responsible for vegetable and small-fruit weed management for the Extension service and is an adjunct professor in the Department of Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences. His responsibilities also include food safety issues.
One of Richard's passions is the campus' historic 1894 horse barn, which will soon be relocated to the 75-acre Adams-Wysocki field on North Pleasant Street as the centerpiece of the new UMass Agricultural Learning Center.
He recently made a generous gift of a $100,000 life insurance policy to UMass Amherst as part of MFBF's $500,000 pledge for the barn relocation. An additional $4 million will be needed to renovate the building to include classrooms, labs and offices.