FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 13, 2014
Farm Aid 2014 Celebrates Innovation of Family Farmers; Cites N.C. as Example of Adaptability
Sold-Out Benefit Festival, Featuring Nelson, Mellencamp, Young, Matthews and Other Top Artists, Highlights Growing Food System Paradigm Shift
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina family farmers are building a farm and food system that is fair for all and strengthens our health, our environment and our economy, despite barriers like discrimination, loss of farmland and corporate control.
With the celebratory backdrop of a family farm food and music festival, North Carolina family farmers were the first to take the Farm Aid stage. Signifying the historic resilience of farm families, they shared personal stories of perseverance, determination, adaptability and innovation, demonstrating that the food system is changing and that a family farm-centered system of agriculture is the only way forward.
Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews honored the good work family farmers are doing in North Carolina and across the country. They called on eaters to choose family farm food and join the efforts to keep building a family farm food system. More than 20,000 fans attended the sold-out event, hosted at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh, North Carolina.
“North Carolina farmers have faced much adversity in the past and to this day, but they have never given up their strong connections to the land,” said Nelson, president and founder of Farm Aid. “Farm Aid is proud to amplify their voices and show the whole country what can be accomplished when we work together. These family farmers are showing us the way forward.”
Speaking about family farming in North Carolina were Scott Marlow of the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA; Craig Watts, poultry farmer in Fairmont, North Carolina; Kay Doby of Hot Shot Goat Farm in Cameron, North Carolina; Russ Vollmer, an organic farmer who transitioned from growing tobacco to growing good food in Bunn, North Carolina; and dairy farmers Dorathy and Phillip Barker of Olusanya Farm and Operation Spring Plant, Inc. in Oxford, North Carolina. They were joined by Nelson, Mellencamp, Young and Matthews.
“More people than ever are directly supporting family farmers through farmers markets and other direct markets — and that’s good,” said Farm Aid Communications Director Jennifer Fahy. “Our job now is to inspire eaters to dig deeper and work for the systemic change our farm and food system needs to truly benefit all of us.”
More than 20,000 concertgoers had the chance to experience family farm food through Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Concessions®. Traditional concert menu items, such as burgers, hotdogs, peanuts and corndogs, were sourced from organic, local, sustainably raised sources. Additional menu items reflected the Southern culinary tradition and local foods, such as BBQ chicken and pork, and North Carolina shrimp and grits. Seasonal menu items included local grilled corn, peaches, muscadine grapes and apples sold at the HOMEGROWN Youthmarket.
Concert attendees also found inspiration at Farm Aid’s HOMEGROWN Village, which featured hands-on activities about issues like corporate power in our food system, protection of our land and water, GMOs, and sustainable fisheries. They learned agrarian skills, such as seed saving, shellfish shucking, and making pepper jelly. Farm Aid partnered with the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina to help meet the needs of the hungry across the region by collecting nonperishable food items from concertgoers at the main entrances to Walnut Creek Amphitheatre.
Farm Aid 2014 featured performances by Nelson, Mellencamp, Young and Matthews — who performed with Tim Reynolds — as well as Jack White, Gary Clark Jr., Jamey Johnson, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Delta Rae, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Carlene Carter, Todd Snider, Insects vs. Robots, Raelyn Nelson Band and Jesse Lenat.
Farm Aid 2014 airs live on AXS TV from 7 to 11 p.m. EDT and at farmaid.org from 5 to 11 p.m. Willie Nelson’s SiriusXM channel (59), Willie’s Roadhouse, also airs the show live from noon to 11 p.m. Farm Aid’s official festival app allowed users to view the entire Farm Aid 2014 schedule and add artists, workshops and artist briefings to make their own personal schedule for the day.
Farm Aid 2014 was sponsored by Amy’s Kitchen, Rudi’s Bakery, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Horizon Organic, Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley Coop, Applegate, Garden of Eatin’, Greener Fields Together, Brooks Contractor, PLOTSAVER, Big Boss, Lonerider and StubHub.
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, 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 farm food. Since 1985, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised more than $45 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.