September 20, 2008

Farm Aid Says Family Farmers Key to Addressing Nation’s Crises


Contact: Maria Enie for Farm Aid, On Sept. 20, +1-724-816-3368, After Sept. 20, +1-202-331-4323, [email protected]

MANSFIELD, Mass., Sept. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Family farmers play a critical role in addressing the economic, environmental and public health crises facing the country, said Farm Aid at its sold-out annual benefit concert held today at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, Mass., just outside of Boston.

Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, joined by artists performing at Farm Aid 2008 Presented by Whole Foods Market and Horizon Organic, held up the tenacity of family farmers as an example of what it takes to solve America's most pressing challenges.

"Family farmers are the bedrock of this country. They are always looking for new answers to problems and finding creative solutions that work," said Willie Nelson, president and founder of Farm Aid. "We need family farmers for our future and people can keep family farmers on the land with their good food choices."

Farm Aid led by example at its annual benefit concert by becoming the only music festival to serve family farm food to concertgoers, artists, crews and VIPs, demonstrating what is possible in efforts to bring more family farm food to more people.

"We need family farmers who are building strong local economies and growing food, fiber and fuel in ways that protect the air, water and soil," said Carolyn Mugar, executive director of Farm Aid. "Farm Aid is working to put more farmers on the land and create more economic opportunities to help them thrive."

At Farm Aid 2008 Presented by Whole Foods Market and Horizon Organic, the HOMEGROWN Village offered concertgoers the opportunity to engage with family farmers and learn more about the environmental, economic and health benefits of a food and agriculture system based on family farms. In the HOMEGROWN Village, family farmers also had the opportunity to learn more about Farm Aid's newly launched Farmer Resource Network. This Web-based tool, which grew from Farm Aid's twenty-three years of hotline work, is designed to help farmers answer the consumer call for more quality family farm food by providing a database of innovative ideas for sustaining their land, growing good food and increasing economic stability.

The stellar lineup at Farm Aid 2008 Presented by Whole Foods Market and Horizon Organic featured Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Kenny Chesney, The Pretenders, moe., Arlo Guthrie, Jerry Lee Lewis, Steve Earle, Nation Beat, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Jakob Dylan and The Gold Mountain Rebels, Danielle Evin, Jamey Johnson, Jesse Lenat, Will Dailey, One Flew South and The Elms.

Farm Aid kicked off its annual benefit concert with a welcome from Governor Deval Patrick at a press event hosted by New England radio and broadcast news commentator Jim Braude. The event featured environmental visionary Frances Moore Lappe and family farmers and youth who are building the bridges that will bring more local, organic and humanely raised foods to those who need it most.

The show, hosted by Carson Daly of NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly and guest host Bob Costas, was broadcast live on DIRECTV's The 101 Network and on www.farmaid.orgfrom 4 - 11 p.m. EDT. Viewers can donate to Farm Aid at DIRECTV will match its subscribers' gifts made from Sept. 6 to Sept. 30 up to $50,000.

Farm Aid 2008 Presented by Whole Foods Market and Horizon Organic sponsors represent companies that incorporate local, sustainable, or organic food, and support an economic future for America's family farmers. Sponsors include Whole Foods Market, Horizon Organic, Silk Soymilk, DIRECTV, Tretorn, Pet Promise, T.F. Green Airport, Organic Valley Family of Farms, Equal Exchange, Delicious Living Magazine, Toy Farmer, Peak Organic Brewing Company, Steaz, Maria & Ricardo's Tortilla Factory, Organic Prairie, Stone Hearth Pizza Co., American Apparel, Chouinard, ISITE Design, and Recycled Paper Printing.

"Whole Foods Market has always been deeply committed to working with local farmers and producers in the communities where we do business and, along with Farm Aid, we share the common goal of building a resilient family farm food system," said Jeff Turnas, president of Whole Foods Market's North Atlantic Region. "Our Local Producer Loan Program provides up to $10 million of low-interest loans annually to small, community-based food producers, which helps sustain the local economy, and strengthens our efforts to expand the availability of quality, local products."

"We're proud to support Farm Aid and all the assistance the organization offers to family farmers who produce fresh, sustainable food for communities nationwide," said Blain McPeak, President, Horizon Organic and Silk. "Our ongoing sponsorship allows us to demonstrate the importance we place on core values that we share with Farm Aid."

Farm Aid's mission is to build a vibrant family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual concert to raise funds to support Farm Aid's work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food. Since 1985, Farm Aid has raised more than $30 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.


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