What’s raised over 39 million dollars for family farmers and has been going strong for 27years? Farm Aid!!!
Depending on your age, you may recall the Live Aid concerts, held simultaneously in London and Philadelphia on July 13, 1985. The whole idea of Farm Aid was born that day, when Bob Dylan said on stage “Wouldn’t it be great if we did something for our own farmers, right here in America?” And with that, the idea of Farm Aid was born.
Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp immediately got to work. The 3 musical icons put together the first Farm Aid concert in only 6 weeks. It was held in Champaign Illinois and raked in over $9 million for American farmers. And they haven’t stopped since. Farm Aid is currently the longest running benefit concert series in America.
And here’s the really exciting part: not only is Farm Aid still going strong, but this year, the concert is coming to our very own backyard, the Hersheypark Stadium! The concert will be September 22. The lineup for this year’s concert includes:
Dave Matthews with Tim Reynolds
Pegi Young & The Survivors
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
Not only is this a music festival, but it is a food festival as well. Concertgoers will be able to enjoy Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN concessions (family farm-identified, local and organic foods). Along with eating the food, they will be able to meet farmers and engage in farm activites to learn all about how farmers not only provide us with healthy food, but enrich our soil, protect our water and grow our economy at the same time.
You may be wondering, specifically how does Farm Aid help farmers? I personally always assumed Farm Aid provided “aid” in the form of money to farmers, right? Actually, due to their incorporation with the IRS, they are prohibited from providing loans or grants to any for-profit business, including farms. Instead, Farm Aid funds a variety of support organizations as part of a nation-wide Farmer Resource Network. The Farmers Resource Network connects farmers to a variety of direct services like, direct marketing assistance, funding opportunities, conservation programs and crisis assistance.
Speaking of crisis assistance, many family farmers all over America are currently facing the worst drought they have ever seen. To help Farmers currently dealing with weather-related disasters, Farm Aid established the Family Farm Disaster Fund. If you would like donate to the fund you can do so here. Your donation can help farm families buy food, cover living expenses, and support organizations that provide legal, financial and emotional counseling to farm families in need.
Currently Willie Nelson is the President of Farm Aid. John Mellencamp and Neil Young are still on the board, and Dave Matthews has also joined the board.