Farm Aid 2008

Farm Aid: 22 years of great music, supporting farmers, and strengthening America.

In case you’ve been in a cave for the last two decades, Farm Aid is:

The nonprofit organization, whose mission is to keep family farmers on their land, works with organizations to help family farmers thrive through programs that develop local food markets, training, youth education and food awareness initiatives.

Farm Aid promotes food from family farms, helps grow the good food movement and takes action to change the “system”. How? The most visible of the organization’s work is an annual daylong concert featuring some of the top names in music – headliners Willie Nelson, Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Dave Matthews.

The 2008 concert is September 20 at the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA and celebrates music and local food, featuring hands-on activities that will showcase the direct connection between farmers and the food they grown. The bad news, the concert is already sold out. The good news, the concert will be broadcast live on DIRECTV’s The 101 Network or catch the free webcast on FarmAid.org.

My favoriteΒ Farm Aid funded group is Food Routes, along with the Buy Fresh Buy Local Campaign. They help consumers find and choose local products while building relationships between growers, food artisans, farmers’ markets, retailers, restaurants, and institutions. Their website allows you to search for farms, farmers markets, food co-ops, CSAs, u-pick farms and farm stands by zip or state.

Farm Aid staff refers farmers to an extensive resource network of family farm organizations across the country. The referrals support farmers seeking to make transitions to more sustainable and profitable farming practices, and also provide immediate and effective support services to farm families in crisis. Additionally, Farm Aid makes grants to farm and rural service organizations to strengthen this network of resources for farmers.

That’s grants – not loans, not promises – but grants. Since its beginning in September 1985, Farm Aid has raised over $30 million to assist farm organizations and granted to farm organizations, churches, and service agencies in 44 states. Many Farm Aid grants are used for Direct Services, including food and emergency aid, legal assistance, and hotlines. These services have helped thousands of struggling farm families across the country stay on the land.

The remainder of Farm Aid funds are distributed as Program Grants to promote outreach, education, and the development of long-term solutions for the problems facing rural America. As the farm crisis has become a chronic problem, Farm Aid funds have allowed small projects to grow into strong organizations which build on the energy and know-how of thousands of family farmers across the country.

What can we do? First and foremost, BUY LOCAL and FARM DIRECT. IF those extra dollars are burning a hole in your pocket, donate directly, purchase Farm Aid swag or make a bequest.

More eco-charity ideas from GO Network:
Go Green by Doing Good
Empower Children with Charity Donation Choices
Eco-Angels: Venture Capital For Socially Responsiblity
Top 15 Charity Search Engines: Donate to Charity for Free

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