|What do Farm Aid folks do during the winter?|
Thanks for coming out to the show. I am so glad to hear that you had a good time - and a few good meals, I hope!! We get this question a lot actually. Seems like it's time to go public. Farm Aid staff are workaholics! We do take a few short days after the show but most of us were back here on Tuesday to unload the truck of supplies that came back from the island. Folks do take vacations here and there in the fall but honestly there is a lot of work to do when we get home.
One thing that we all try and do is take time to sit and talk with farmers through the winter. Many farm groups hold their annual meetings during these months, and most staffers try to attend several of these sessions each year. This outreach is part of our effort to build the Good Food Movement by maintaining contact with our current grantees, while learning more about emerging organizations and new ideas aimed at helping family farmers thrive.
Now, I thought it might be interesting to give you an insider's view into each person's fall and winter here at Farm Aid. We do manage to stay busy!
Carolyn is our Executive Director and has a lot of direct contact with the board. She takes the winter to discuss with them their priorities and ideas for next year's show.
Glenda, our Associate Director approves everything we write that goes out the door, looks out for the Farm Aid brand, supervises the staff, works with corporate sponsors and thinks towards the future of the organization.
Cornelia, our HOMEGROWN and Special Events Manager, is 100% focused on HOMEGROWN.org - first on the blog and ultimately on our snazzy web site. She is always looking for new and clever ways of bringing people together to share their love of all things HOMEGROWN, so drop her a line at email@example.com if you have some good ideas!
Wendy, our Resource Development Director, is in charge of all things fundraising, donations and merchandise. She also oversees the website content and messaging and is our Human Resources guru.
Ted, our Program Director, dedicates the remainder of the year to reading, along with other members of the program staff, grant proposals from the more than 120 groups that typically submit requests for funding each year. The toughest part of this work is deciding which groups, among the many who seek support, are going to receive Farm Aid grants. There is just never enough money to support them all.
Mark, our Campaigns Director, will be working hard on a new and exciting project that will bring some exciting information to farmers across the country. He also works as our primary contact for the media and public relations.
Joel is our Hotline and Resource Network Coordinator. This means that he spends his time (all year really) talking with farmers on the hotline and farmhelp link as well as developing relationships with new resources for our directory of farmer services.
Jen, our Operations Manager, makes sure that our office and finances run smoothly, which unfortunately means a lot of red tape and jumping through hoops. The winter for Jen is a time of putting things in order to get ready for our annual audit. She also works as part of our communications team and on board and artist relations.
Jeni is the Web Marketing Manager in our office which means that she keeps our website beautiful, meaningful and relevant. She sends you this newsletter and helps us come up with new and creative ideas for www.farmaid.org.
I guess that leaves me. I am the Program Manager and right now I am looking at a huge stack of grant proposals that need to be processed and read. That will take a few months. When we are done with those, I will be traveling to farm meetings, answering your questions and working on some new fact sheets for the web site.
So there you have it. There are about a million little jobs that I have left out, we all answer the phone, problem-solve and take great care of this organization each day. In a nutshell though, we stay busy.
Send questions to laura --
What does Farm Aid do with the money that it raises at the annual concert? - October 2013
I live in New York and dairy farmers seem to be struggling. What can I do to help? - September 2013
I have heard horror stories about the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico this year. How can farmers better support our waterways? - July 2013
I finally got around to watching "Food, Inc." I was floored to see what poultry producers actually go through. Is this really what's behind the chicken on my plate? - May 2013
Why is it so difficult for farmers to find affordable farmland these days? - March 2013
The PBS documentary about the Dust Bowl was amazing – what a disaster of epic proportions and a reminder of how important the soil is to our lives! How do today’s farmers care for the soil? - November 2012
The other day, I came across "grassfed beef" in the supermarket. Aren't all beef cattle fed grass? If not, what do they eat? Is this something I should feed my family? - October 2012
How do I find a university that values family farmers and the Good Food Movement? - September 2012
I'm a big supporter of organic agriculture, but some of my friends say it isn't a practical way to feed the world. Is that true? - August 2012
How does someone with no experience get into farming? - August 2012
How is climate change affecting family farmers? What are they doing about it? - April 2012
Is the USDA truly supporting local and regional agriculture? - March 2012
I'm concerned about the use of antibiotics in farm animals and would like to find antibiotic-free meat and poultry products. Any suggestions? - February 2012
How does the occupy movement relate to farmers? - January 2012
What can you tell me about family farm turkey? - November 2011
How will labeling genetically engineered food do anything for family farmers? - October 2011
Word is big cuts are in store for farmers in the upcoming Farm Bill. What is the Farm Bill and what will budget cuts mean for family farmers? - September 2011
I've been seeing a lot of farm plots spring up around the city. I didn't even realize people could farm in cities—how can I get involved in this! - August 2011
This year’s weather has been a nightmare and lots of farms in my area are struggling. What help is there available for farmers struck by disaster? - July 2011
I watched "Food, Inc." recently and was surprised by how animals were treated and meat was produced in America. This seems crazy to me. Why can’t we get meat from better sources? - June 2011
A lot of farmers in my area are leasing their land for hydraulic fracturing — is it good or bad? What do farmers say? - June 2011
What's a food hub? How can they help me? - April 2011
High farm prices are in the news — are farmers getting rich? - March 2011
I know the U.S. government just allowed a few new GE crops on the market — should I be worried? - February 2011
How can I find food from local farmers during the cold winter months? - January 2011
A year-in-review on corporate concentration in agriculture. - November 2010
Can you tell me about starting farm to school programs? I’m a farmer and I’d love to provide schools in my area with healthy food. - October 2010
No offense, but what has Farm Aid really done all these years aside from put on a good concert? - September 2010
I really want to get local meats, but they don't seem to be available. Why is that? - August 2010
Answering reader questions with our report, "Rebuilding America’s Economy with Family Farm-Centered Food Systems" - July 2010
I just read an article that anticipates 200 dairies will go under in my state by the end of 2010. Why are dairy farmers in so much trouble right now? - June 2010
How is credit affecting family farmers right now? - May 2010
What exactly is a family farm? How does it differ from a factory farm? - April 2010
What's up with food safety? Could new laws hurt family farmers? - March 2010
How can a food system that offers so much variety be constricting consumer choice? - February 2010
I keep hearing about "concentration" in farming. What does that mean and how does it affect me? - January 2010
What’s Farm Aid’s grant program all about? Where does all the money go? - December 2009
Why are you thankful for family farmers? The Farm Aid staff responds. - November 2009
What are some ways people can get involved in farm activism? - October 2009
I've been seeing a lot of interest lately in seed saving. It seems like a lot of work, why bother? - September 2009
Are factory farms still a threat to America’s family farmers? - August 2009
Do you have any tips for how to fit a farmers market into my busy life? - July 2009
What’s the best way to get more farm fresh food into my child’s school cafeteria? - June 2009
How do I get involved in the dairy crisis at the grassroots level? - May 2009
How can we fix the food safety system without hurting family farmers? - April 2009
How exactly are GE crops regulated? And how can I be sure that I am protected? - March 2009
Dairy farmers are struggling for survival right now - why? - February 2009
Is there a reason why Farm Aid doesn’t grant more to individual farmers? - January 2009
How is the credit crisis affecting farmers and agriculture in America? - December 2008
What does the change in administration mean for family farmers? - November 2008
Where do John McCain and Barack Obama stand on agricultural issues? - October 2008
Does Farm Aid know of any programs that help young people start their own farm? - September 2008
Just how does Farm Aid decide where to host the show each year? - August 2008
Laura looks back on three years answering your questions - July 2008
I try to buy local and from family farmers whenever possible. Why is it so hard to find meat from area farmers? - June 2008
How do you decide who is and isn’t a family farmer? How many family farmers are there in the United States? - May 2008
I see raw milk from time to time at my local grocery, some folks say it’s good –others say its dangerous- what’s the deal? - April 2008
I seem to be spending more and more at the grocery store these days. Is it true that corn prices and ethanol are making my food cost more? - March 2008
I feel like I used to see a lot more in the news about GMOs. I haven’t managed to keep up to date and now I’m not really even sure what’s out there. Could you give me a little update on GMOs? - February 2008
What’s going on with the Farm Bill? Didn’t it pass recently? Is there anything good for family farmers in it? - January 2008
What do farmers do in the winter? - December 2007
What are you serving for Thanksgiving? - November 2007
How did Farm Aid replace the typical concert foods at Farm Aid 2007 and what were the criteria? - October 2007
What do Farm Aid folks do during the winter? - September 2007
Can you suggest some ways to drink locally or seasonally? - August 2007
Is it legal and humane to keep chickens in the city? - July 2007
Is it possible to compost in the city? - June 2007
Should everyone who wants to lessen their impact on the environment consider giving up meat? - May 2007
Can you suggest farm related activities for kids to do? - April 2007
Am I supporting family farmers when I purchase a product labeled organic? - March 2007
Can you help me simplify my food shopping in a way that still supports my values? - February 2007
What New Year's resolutions can I make that will support family farmers? - January 2007
How does Farm Aid help family farmers, where does the money go? - December 2006
How can I find a family farm turkey for Thanksgiving? - November 2006
Is it possible to shop locally on a budget? - October 2006
Why can't I get any of this "delicious food from family farmers" at the Farm Aid concert? - September 2006
Do you have any advice for developing classroom activities involving good food? - August 2006
Who are the farmers in the United States? - July 2006
What kind of work is Farm Aid doing with biodiesel? - June 2006
When will tomatoes be available in farmers markets? - May 2006
Are factory farm birds safer than outdoor birds? - April 2006
Could you tell me a little about the food in New Orleans today? Can you even get local foods in the city? - March 2006
What is biodynamic farming? - February 2006
Why do different companies promote different kinds of pasteurization for milk? - January 2006
How can I eat seasonally year-round if nothing is growing in my area? - December 2005
With all of the devastating elements that farmers have to face, who can help them when a disaster comes? - November 2005
Why is it so hard to find fresh, locally grown produce in my area of Staten Island, NY? - October 2005
What is a "family farm food system"? - June 2005
How can I find a farm near me? - May 2005
What does April on the farm mean in different states? - April 2005
Who are the corporate players in the meat industry? - March 2005
What questions can I ask my grocer? - February 2005
An Introduction to Ask Laura - January 2005
What is grass roots organizing? - August 2005
Where does school food come from? - July 2005