CHICAGO, Illinois, 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
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
"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 Chicago."
"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 friends."
"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
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 land.
Dave Matthews joined the Farm Aid Board of Directors in 2001.
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
"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
Farm Aid will offer special advance sale tickets to its FarmYard
members. For more information about Farm Aid's 20th anniversary,
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