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Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

Farm Aid Music and Food Festival Returns to Pennsylvania

Aug 28, 2012 11:48AM ● By Beth Davis

 

Each year, Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews headline a Farm Aid concert to bring together a wide variety of musicians, farmers and fans for one mission: keeping family farmers on their land. Farm Aid is the longest running benefit concert series in America, raising more than $40 million to help family farmers thrive all over the country while inspiring millions of people to learn about the Good Food movement. This year, Hersheypark Stadium, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, outside Harrisburg, will host Farm Aid 2012 on September 22.

“The fight to save family farms isn’t just about farmers,” says Nelson. “It’s about making sure that there is a safe and healthy food supply for all of us. It’s about jobs, from Main Street to Wall Street. It’s about a better America.”

Farm Aid 2012 will feature Nelson and fellow board members Mellencamp, Young and Matthews, as well as Tim Reynolds, Kenny Chesney, Jack Johnson, ALO, Pegi Young & The Survivors and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.

The signature music and food festival will feature Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Concessions—family farm-identified, local and organic foods. Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Village will give concertgoers a chance to meet farmers, engage in hands-on food and farm activities and learn about the ways family farmers are enriching our soil, protecting our water and growing our economy, in addition to bringing us good food for good health.

In 1985, Nelson, Young and Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. Matthews joined the Farm Aid Board of Directors in 2001. Since its inception, Farm Aid has brought together the greatest artists in American music to help raise more than $40 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture.

Of all the concerts for causes that began in the mid-80s, Farm Aid remains the only one that has the unique and unwavering commitment of its original founders. Farm Aid continues to host the annual concert that raises funds to support Farm Aid.

“We all see what’s happening with agriculture, what’s happening to our small towns,” says Mellancamp. “They are going out of business. That’s a direct result of the farm problem. We’re still doing Farm Aid because it is contributing. It’s doing a job.”

As a nonprofit organization, Farm Aid works to accomplish its mission by promoting food from family farms, growing the Good Food Movement, helping farmers thrive and taking action to change the system.

“Just as rock and roll is loud and proud, so is Farm Aid,” states Young. “Farm Aid’s greatest accomplishment, I believe, is in the spirit. It’s the fact that we represent the spirit of the good fight, to keep something good happening. It just keeps getting stronger and stronger.”

For more information, visit FarmAid.org. Farmers that need help may call 1-800-327-6243, email [email protected], or visit Farm Aid’s Farmer Resource Network.

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