We look forward to bringing the annual Farm Aid festival to Pennsylvania for a third time this September! Farm Aid 2017 will shine a spotlight on family farmers and ranchers in the region (including Ohio and West Virginia), who bring us all good food and protect our natural resources. Their hard work is invigorating local economies and bringing rural and urban people together. Here are just a few of the reasons why we’re excited to celebrate in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania:
- The state has more than 58,000 farms. That number has declined at a rate of 7.8% between 2007 and 2016, which means a loss of almost 5,000 farms.
- Pennsylvania loves its cheese! There are 6,650 dairy farms in Pennsylvania—second only to Wisconsin. Dairy farms contribute more than $7 billion to the state economy and employ 60,000 people.
- The Keystone State is the birthplace of organic agriculture in the U.S. and ranks fifth in the nation for the number of organic farms (679 farms).
- As the home of the Buy Fresh, Buy Local initiative, Pennsylvania is fourth in the country for direct farm to consumer, retailer and institution sales. The state has more than 2,400 farmers’ markets.
- Pennsylvania is also taking the lead on farmland preservation, with more than 5,000 farms and 527,000 acres preserved.
- Farm to School Rocks in Pennsylvania where 44% of school districts participate in farm to school programs that invest $18 million in local food.
- Urban agriculture in cities like Pittsburgh is flourishing; transforming empty lots and buildings into vibrant urban farms. Organizations like, Grow Pittsburgh, have launched more than 60 farms, which bring fresh food to urban dwellers, especially those who may otherwise lack this access.
- Western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia have been historically targeted for extraction of natural resources like coal and natural gas, while being chronically underfunded by public institutions. Emerging local and regional food systems have been critical to establishing resilient local economies that can survive the boom and bust cycles of the energy sector.
- We’ve had a long history of working with farm and food organizations in the region. Since 1985, Farm Aid has granted $470,371 to Pennsylvania and surrounding states (Ohio and West Virginia), including $9,771 to assist farmers and ranchers in times of crisis
With all of this innovation and commitment to good food for all, local economies, and environmental stewardship, we couldn’t be happier to bring Farm Aid 2017 to the region! We hope that you’ll join us in person in September, and online this summer as we highlight local farmers, ranchers, and farm organizations on the #road2FarmAid.We hope you'll join us in September!