Monday, October 04, 2010

Farm Aid concert shines spotlight on family farms

A variety of motivations brought around 35,000 people to Farm Aid 25 in Milwaukee last week, but all the crowd "seemed to leave with a sense of pride in their country and an overflowing love and for the traditional family farmer," University of Kentucky student Alexandria Sardam reports. The concert, started in 1985 by Willie Nelson, featured Neil Young (photo by Sardam), Kenny Chesney, Norah Jones and many other artists, and attracted farm families and supporters from all over the nation.

"I think that it’s so important that we reach an understanding as a society that if we want a healthy future and healthy planet and healthy children then we have to think globally but act locally," said musician Dave Matthews, who has been a Farm Aid board member and performer since 2001. Matthews owns Maple Hill Farm, an organic farm that is a contributor to the Best of What’s Around Community Supported Agriculture Program located near Charlottesville, Va. Young left the crowd with a strategy for helping U.S. farmers: "Look at the label," he said. "Don't buy from other countries. Buy American." (Read more)

"Combining music and activism, Farm Aid has carved out an interesting history," Karen Herzog and Bill Glauber of the Milwaulkee Journal Sentinel report. "It began as a musical plea to save the family farm in America and morphed into a platform for the good-food movement and sustainable agriculture, starring family farms." Carolyn Mugar, Farm Aid's executive director, explained the event is based on a simple truth: "Supporting family farmers and family farm-centered food systems can jump-start a fragile economy, improve public health and create a cleaner environment for future generations," the reporters write. (Read more)

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