July 11, 2005 (ENS): Farm Aid co-founders Willie
Nelson and John Mellencamp announced that the nation's
leading family farm advocacy organization will mark
its 20th anniversary by returning to Illinois - the
state where it began.
Farm Aid 2005 will urge Americans to choose food from
family farms. The 20th anniversary celebration will
kick off with a week of food and music events in Chicago.
Pre-concert events will showcase the city's efforts
to promote family farm food by linking rural and urban
The events will culminate with Farm Aid's 20th anniversary
all-star fundraising concert to take place on September
18 at the Tweeter Center in Tinley Park, Illinois.
The 20th anniversary concert will feature Willie Nelson,
Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, plus
other top artists to be announced later.
"From small towns to folks in the city, everybody
knows family farm food is the best," said Farm
Aid President Nelson. "It's good to be back in
Illinois where it all started. This state is showing
how good food can connect places like Champaign and
"It inspires us to think about family farmers every
day," Nelson said. "I'm looking forward to
playing on the Farm Aid stage, playing music with my
"Farmers have a tremendous impact on the quality
of food that we eat," said Farm Aid Board Member
Mellencamp. "Farm Aid is always a great show, but
even more important is that Farm Aid helps the consumer
and the family farmer work together for the benefit
of all of us."
Farm Aid week in Chicago will include the County Fair
at the Garfield Conservatory on September 17, a film
festival, possible small-venue performances, educational
and restaurant events, as well as the release of Farm
Aid's book, "FARM AID: A Song for America."
During the week, Farm Aid will spotlight activities
at Chicago-area farmers markets.
Farm Aid began in 1985 when Willie Nelson, inspired
by comments from Bob Dylan at Live Aid, along with Neil
Young and John Mellencamp, hosted a day-long music benefit
for family farmers in Champaign, Illinois. The event
was held to raise awareness about the loss of family
farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their
Dave Matthews joined the Farm Aid Board of Directors
In the past 20 years, Farm Aid has raised more than
$27 million. Through public education and direct grants,
Farm Aid supports national, regional and local efforts
to build and strengthen family farm food systems.
"Right now, America is on the cusp of a "good
food" movement, promoted and supported by Farm
Aid," said Farm Aid Executive Director Carolyn
Mugar. "The American public recognizes family farmers
as their resource for food that is local, humanely raised,
organic, and sustainable, and consumers are reaching
for these foods in grocery stores, at farmers markets,
in schools and even in hospitals. This demand offers
growing economic opportunity for family farmers to thrive."
"I am pleased to welcome Farm Aid to Chicago to
celebrate its 20th anniversary," said Mayor Richard
Daley. "Chicago is committed to supporting small
businesses and improving the quality of life for its
residents, and Farm Aid helps family farmers do their
job of producing the highest quality food for our City
and for people all over the country."
For the third year, Silk Soymilk is the presenting
sponsor of the Farm Aid concert. "Silk Soymilk
is proud to present Farm Aid's 20th anniversary concert,"
said Mike Keown, senior vice president of marketing
for WhiteWave Foods. "We salute the important role
that family farmers serve in promoting sustainable agriculture
and providing healthy food to American families."
Tickets for Farm Aid 2005 are on sale July 30 at 10
a.m. CDT and are available at all Ticketmaster outlets,
the Tweeter Center box office, charge by phone in Chicago
at 312-559-1212, or online at http://www.tweetercenter.com/chicago.
Farm Aid will offer special advance sale tickets to
its FarmYard members. For more information about Farm
Aid's 20th anniversary, visit: http://www.farmaid.org
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