FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 21, 2010

CONTACT:
Maria Enie
202-248-5447

Farm Aid Funds Projects to Strengthen Sustainable Family Farm Food Production

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Farm Aid today announced that 60 family farm and rural service organizations working to strengthen family farm agriculture nationwide received $407,300 from its grant program during 2010.

“When Farm Aid started, we knew it was crucial to support the folks in the countryside working to keep family farmers on the land,” said Farm Aid President Willie Nelson. “Twenty-five years later, there are more people than ever who recognize the value of family farmers. Thanks to the generosity of so many Americans, Farm Aid supports projects that build a thriving future for family farm agriculture and good food for all in both rural and urban communities.”

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;
  • advocate for fair farm policies on behalf of all family farmers;
  • recruit and train new farmers; and

  • support farmer-to-farmer programs for more sustainable agricultural practices.

In Wisconsin, where Farm Aid held its 25th anniversary benefit concert in October of this year, $47,500 was granted to expand market opportunities, provide emergency assistance to farmers, support grant-writing workshops for farmers applying to federal farm programs, advocate for farm policies that promote competition and fairness, and assist beginning and transitioning organic farmers. The total amount distributed in the upper Midwest was $94,500.

“At the start of Farm Aid’s 25th year, Willie Nelson challenged every American by asking what each of us can do to keep family farmers on the land,” said Farm Aid executive director Carolyn Mugar. “We all have a part in this movement. Farm Aid’s grant recipients are already doing crucial work so that our family farmers can thrive and we all have access to good food from family farms.”

For a complete listing of Farm Aid’s 2010 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 policies that serve farmers and consumers alike. Farm Aid spent considerable time and effort in 2010 working on specific issues affecting family farmers in the economic downturn, especially the availability and accessibility of credit, corporate concentration in agriculture and the dairy crisis.

Many organizations supported by Farm Aid grants are part of Farm Aid’s Farmer Resource Network, which 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 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 Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope for America, the 25th anniversary benefit concert, held October 2, 2010, at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The concert was broadcast live on DirecTV and highlights will air on DirecTV’s The 101® Network throughout 2011.

Farm Aid welcomes donations at www.farmaid.org.

About Farm Aid

Farm Aid’s mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young 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 farm food. Since 1985, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised more than $37 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms. Join the Farm Aid conversation on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FarmAid. For more information about Farm Aid, visit www.farmaid.org.

###