FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 18, 2009

CONTACT:
Brandi Horton
202-331-4323
bhorton@vancomm.com

Farm Aid Funds Projects to Strengthen, Promote Sustainable Family Farm Food Production

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — Farm Aid today announced that 72 family farm and rural service organizations working to strengthen family farm agriculture nationwide received $503,500 from its grant program during 2009.

"It is inspiring and invigorating to see how much good work is happening to support family farmers and good food across the country," said Farm Aid President Willie Nelson. "I am grateful that so many organizations are committed to serving family farmers and farm communities and creating a thriving future for family farm agriculture and good food for all."

Farm Aid funds were invested in programs that:

  • help farm families stay on their land;
  • build new market opportunities for farmers and increase consumer access to good food;
  • increase institutional buying of family farm food;
  • confront the threat of corporate concentration in agriculture;
  • recruit and train new farmers; and
  • support farmer-to-farmer programs for more sustainable agricultural practices.

In Missouri, where Farm Aid held its annual benefit concert in October, $30,000 was granted to organizations working on issues to improve opportunities for family farmers. Funds will also support efforts to ensure that legislation enacted in the 2008 Farm Bill is implemented in ways that serve the interests of family farmers. In addition to these grants, Farm Aid's Family Farm Disaster Fund provided $67,100 in grants and emergency relief to farm families affected by weather disasters in 2009.

"Farm Aid is proud to support the crucial hands-on work happening all over the country to keep family farmers on the land," said Farm Aid executive Director Carolyn Mugar. "2009 has been a tough year for everyone, but farm families especially have struggled with low prices, tight credit and bad weather. These grants will help address the immediate needs of family farmers and continue to grow and strengthen the sustainable, family farm-based food system that helps us all thrive."

For a complete listing of Farm Aid's 2009 grants, visit www.farmaid.org/grants.

Farm Aid's grant making is one aspect of its programming to keep family farmers on the land, growing good food for all. In addition, Farm Aid's program work includes public education to increase demand for family farm food and advocating for policy that serves farmers and consumers alike. Farm Aid spent considerable time and effort in 2009 working on specific issues affecting family farmers in the economic downturn of 2009, specifically availability and accessibility of credit, farm foreclosure protection, and the dairy crisis.

Many organizations supported by Farm Aid grants are part of Farm Aid's Farmer Resource Network, an evolution of Farm Aid's farmer hotline that features an online tool to link family farmers with innovative ideas to help them meet the rising consumer demand for food from family farms. The Farmer Resource Network also offers tools to help put new farmers on the land. To learn more about the Farmer Resource Network, visit www.farmaid.org/ideas.

Much of the money raised by Farm Aid this year was the result of its annual benefit concert held October 4, 2009, at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in St. Louis, Missouri. The concert was broadcasted live on DIRECTV and highlights will air on DIRECTV's The 101® Network throughout 2010. For updates, follow Farm Aid on Twitter @farmaid.

About Farm Aid
For 25 years, Farm Aid has worked to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual concert to raise funds to support Farm Aid's work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farmed food. Since 1985, Farm Aid has raised more than $36 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the current system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.

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