Blog | November 24, 2020

Finding Thanks, Finding Hope

by Steve Snyder

Thinking back a year ago, I doubt any of us could have imagined what 2020 would bring and where we’d find ourselves right now. Like so many others, my family and friends have been touched by the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year we won’t be sharing thanks and a holiday meal around the same table. Our hearts are heavy for those suffering and experiencing dark days.d

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It can feel hard to be thankful in times like these, and it’s important to acknowledge that. Finding hope can take some serious searching. This is something family farmers and ranchers have always known. So much work goes into farming, and yet so many of the factors essential to farmers’ livelihoods – from weather to pests to prices – are outside of their control. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different.

Still, family farmers carry on. They’re resilient, determined, and hopeful. And they’re essential to us all. It’s hard to imagine how much worse things would be if our family farmers weren’t there for us to provide the one thing we all need most right now: good food.

So, while our tables may have fewer chairs and smaller turkeys this Thanksgiving, I’m going to start the meal the way I usually do: thankful to the family farmers who persevered to grow the food before me.

One way we can demonstrate our thanks for family farmers is by supporting them this giving season through purchases at your local farm or farmers market. Another is by making a donation to Farm Aid to support our mission to keep farmers on the land, protecting our soil and water and strengthening our communities. GivingTuesday is just around the corner, and your gift shows family farmers we’re there for them just as they’ve been there for us.

Our Goal on GivingTuesday

We’re asking you to join us this GivingTuesday, because Farm Aid depends upon your support to provide the critical resources our essential family farmers and ranchers need.

We have an ambitious goal to raise at least $25,000 for Giving Tuesday on December 1, and we can only reach that with your help. You can even give us a head start towards our GivingTuesday goal by donating today! Let’s show family farmers how much we appreciate the hard work they do.

A group of generous Farm Aid donors have pledged to match a portion of donations received on GivingTuesday. So when you make a donation to support family farmers, your gift will have double the impact thanks to these incredible donors who are kick-starting Farm Aid’s GivingTuesday campaign: Karen Hirshan, Travis Webb, Yan Besner, Randy Poe and Tim Wegman.

We asked them if they’d share a few words about why they support Farm Aid and this is what they had to say:

“As a photographer, gardener and mother of two daughters with a passion for produce, I spend every week at my local farmers market supporting family farms. In the last few years, I have learned much about these farms’ environmentally conscious practices and commitment to producing healthy food. As this aligns with my lifestyle, I am more concerned each day for the impact of climate change on these small farms, and that is why I am a supporter of Farm Aid.”

 – Karen Hirshan

Every year around this time, millions of Americans reflect on their lives and the world around them. We reflect on our problems but also give thanks for the blessings that have been bestowed upon us. One of the greatest blessings in my life has been the opportunity to grow up on a family farm. My parents still live on that farm, and each year I cherish the time that I can bring my two sons to the Central Illinois homestead to experience the connection with the land and the animals of our heritage. The hard work of my youth sticks out in my mind, but it is precisely that hard work that has given me so many good memories and made me who I am.  

When I became a part of the Farm Aid family several years ago, I was welcomed into an incredible community of people committed to helping family farmers succeed in this turbulent world. Life has changed on family farms since I grew up there, but the love of the land and the freedom of working in the fields and barns is still powerful and draws people of strength and courage to carry on the task of feeding our world. I am proud to support the great work of the Farm Aid organization, and I hope others will feel the same.”

 – Travis Webb

“Why have I, since 2013 and until the mission is accomplished, attended the festival, donated, volunteered and served on the Development Advisory Board to Farm Aid? The answer is simple. It’s for the three folks you see with me above; and for all the other families that benefit from those who make our food with passion, love and unabated effort and commitment to a better food system – family farmers. To help them is to love my family and my community.

In a year where the importance of family and community has never been more important, the importance of supporting the mission of Farm Aid been has never been more of a priority. On this #GivingTuesday, please give the gift of love and community and help those who Dave says, ‘make us good food.’ Thank you.”

– Yan Besner

“I have been a fan and supporter of this organization since watching the very first Farm Aid concert on TV in 1985. My grandfather was a farmer in Alabama. Many friends I grew up with in the South had family farms. My childhood memories include spending days on those family farms, helping to milk the cows and collect the eggs. I remember how tomatoes used to taste when they were still grown without large amounts of fungicides, pesticides, and herbicides. I remember drinking milk when there was still cream at the top of the glass.

Change for the better is always good, but not all change is for the better. Changing the American food system based primarily on yield and corporate greed is one of the greatest disservices being done to the American people.

We still have a long way to go, but I have hope that the day will come when those who have never had the chance will finally be able to experience what tomatoes, corn, squash, chicken, beef, pork, and milk are supposed to taste like. Corporate farms can’t provide those things. Those things can only come from American family farmers. How could anyone not want to become involved in an organization like Farm Aid?”

– Randy Poe


“I was first drawn to Farm Aid by the annual festival and the first one I attended was in Saratoga Springs, NY in 2013. My wife and I are avid Willie Nelson and Dave Matthews fans and we were looking for a show of one of theirs to go to. That’s when we found Farm Aid and were amazed by the talent that was performing. After that, we attended a few more – Chicago, IL in 2015, Burgettstown, PA in 2017, and of course Farm Aid 2020 On the Road this past September. 

At each festival, I learned more and more about what Farm Aid was all about and I became increasingly aware of family farming, buying local, and supporting small farms. Growing up in rural Hilton, NY, I have always been surrounded by farms, farm stands, family farms and farmers, many of which I attended school with, were friends with, or did business with. Between the incredible work Farm Aid does for small family farms, the amazing festival, the board members, and living my entire life on a (non) working farm with my 8 siblings, Farm Aid has become an organization I am most proud to be a part of.”

– Tim Wegman


“We’ve been attending the Farm Aid concert for 15 years now, and we’re proud to lend our support to Farm Aid’s vital mission. We’re humbled by the tireless work ethic of family farmers and want to do all we can to ensure they have a bright future ahead. We think it’s essential everyone has access to good, healthy food. We admire Farm Aid’s relentless dedication to family farmers and hope you’ll join us in giving a gift on GivingTuesday.”

– The DeFeo Family

Make A Difference

Please join us this #GivingTuesday on December 1, to make a difference in the lives of family farmers – especially now, when we all need them the most! Here’s how you can help:

  1. Make a gift to Farm Aid to help us reach our goal on #GivingTuesday
    Mark your calendar by downloading this helpful reminder so you don’t forget!
  2. Spread the Word
    Want to see your good deed go even further? Help us get the word out on social media! Post your favorite food and farm photos or tell people why you love Farm Aid and use the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #FarmAid. You can even start your own fundraising campaign or join a team to help grow the Farm Aid family!
  3. Eat Well, Do Good
    Finally, don’t forget to share your support of family farmers every day by eating good food grown in your community!

Please help us reach our goal! We’re grateful for your support!

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