Willie Nelson headlines Farm Aid to benefit family farms

EDITOR'S NOTE: New Farm was proud to be a part of Farm Aid's pre-conference kick-off at Seattle’s Pike Place market. Visitors to our booth were treated to our Looking for a bargain? handout, which exposes the hidden costs of conventional agriculture, encouraged to act out against factory farming and in support of a national farm to school program and were then given a New Farm patch. Sorry we currently have no virtual equivalent of our patch (or of the rainy Seattle weather) but the rest can be assessed with a click of the mouse.

SEATTLE, Washington, September 20, 2004 (ENS): Family farmers and good food for a healthy America were in the spotlight at the annual Farm Aid benefit concert Saturday at the White River Amphitheatre on the Muckleshoot Reservation, just outside Seattle. This was the first time the concert was held on the West Coast.

"It is important that we, as a nation, renew our determination to support family farming," said Farm Aid president and founder Willie Nelson. "All around the country, people are reaching for family farm identified, locally produced, high quality food. Because of the heightened demand for good food, a world of economic opportunities is opening up for farmers. Farm Aid will continue to promote this movement for family farm food."

Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. Dave Matthews joined the Farm Aid Board of Directors in 2001.

Farm Aid has raised $26 million to promote a strong family farm system of agriculture. Through public education and direct grants, Farm Aid supports national, regional and local efforts to build and strengthen family farm food systems. Farm Aid promotes sustainable agriculture, fights factory farms, advocates for fair farm prices, and provides credit counseling and direct assistance to farm families.

Farm Aid promoted its newest publication at the Seattle benefit, "10 Ways to Ensure Healthy Food for You and Your Family." The guide contains tips to help people support family farm agriculture through individual and community action.

Farm Aid and local family farm organizations collaborated to host a "10 Ways in 10 Days" series of events at Pike Place Market, involving area residents in local food and farm initiatives in the 10 days leading up to the concert.

"Everyone can play a role to defend and promote family farms and good food," said Carolyn Mugar, Farm Aid executive director. "Farm Aid is for family farm agriculture and all the benefits that family farmers bring to the table in addition to good, healthful food: faithful stewardship of the land, strong local communities, and our link to sustainable food production for the future."

The line-up for this year's concert included founders Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young as well as fellow board member Dave Matthews, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Trick Pony, Tony Coleman, Blue Merle, Kitty Jerry, Kate Voegele, and the Canadian duo Tegan and Sara.

The official webcast of Farm Aid 2004 can be seen on Farm Aid's Web site http://www.farmaid.org. The webcast includes performances by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews. Virtual tickets are available at: www.farmaid.org for a $10 donation.

Sponsors include Silk Soymilk, Nantucket Nectars, TalentMatch.com, Organic Valley Family of Farms, Earthbound Farms, Annie's Homegrown, Horizon Organic, GRACE: Global Resource Action Center for the Environment, American Apparel, Larry's Markets, Nine Systems, ViewCast, Giving Nature Foods, Burien Auto Dealers Association, Alori and Chouinard.


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