Blog | August 30, 2006

Carolyn answers “Why Massachusetts?”

I’ve been at Farm Aid since the beginning and folks in the office always turn to me for the stories of …well… “How did you do it back then?” type of thing. “Back then” usually means before the staff grew to what it is today, our largest ever of 11 people. The question most often asked is, “Why is Farm Aid in Massachusetts?”

It’s a short story really. When Willie first asked me to get involved… it was a very different time. Many really believed that with that first concert we could stop the flood of family farms being forced off their land. Our plan was to have the concert, then Congress and the powers that be would listen and act and that would sort of be it.

Now, 21 years later, I feel the hope we had back then and certainly the hope we have now, even though we live daily with the reality of how complex keeping family farmers striving on the land really is. (By the way a slogan I’d like to pitch is: We want thrival, not just survival. Anybody have any thoughts on that one?) But anyway, back to the office…

The thought was that one concert would do it, so we didn’t need an office since I could work out of my home in Cambridge, MA. But after a few months with the overwhelming response that we got from people all over America–both from farmers and Farm Aid supporters–and as the office papers began to get covered with spaghetti sauce (my work table was in the kitchen), I realized we needed an office.

So I found one, if the truth be known, in the hallway of another organization actually. Pretty soon some really good folks showed up, and then another and then another, and soon we actually had a staff. Some interesting people have worked for us over the years. (Some who had celebrity in their own right but that’s another story.) And I might add, some very interesting people work here now…if the truth be told…EVERYONE here is VERY interesting.

Now, we are committed to being here for as long as it takes and we’ve got a big old huge sort of open space office in Somerville. We’ve settled in for the long haul and we’re working hard to make change. And that work can and does happen from everywhere. And Farm Aid is one of the “everywheres.”

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