Press Releases | December 1, 2015

Farm Aid Announces Grants to Empower Family Farm Organizations Strengthening Our Food and Farm System

December 1, 2015

Brittany Vanderpool

Farm Aid Announces Grants to Empower Family Farm Organizations Strengthening Our Food and Farm System

Farm Aid participates in #GivingTuesday today to celebrate and support good work being done to build a family farm system of agriculture

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Farm Aid today announced that it distributed more than half a million dollars in grant program funding this year, investing in organizations working to strengthen the family farm food system. To date, Farm Aid has granted $610,347 to 79 family farm, rural service and urban agriculture organizations in 34 states and the District of Columbia, as well as to 13 farmers for farmer leadership development and 22 farm families for emergency and natural disaster relief.

Today, Farm Aid joins other charities worldwide as a participant in #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to generosity and giving back. Since the #GivingTuesday movement launched in 2012, more than 30,000 organizations in 68 countries have come together to celebrate and support philanthropy across the world.

“Thanks to the continued generosity of devoted supporters from across the country, today Farm Aid sends money to hardworking advocates and organizers who share Farm Aid’s mission to keep family farmers on the land,” says Farm Aid President Willie Nelson. “Farm Aid grants strengthen family farm agriculture, challenge corporate power in our food system, increase access to good food for all of us, and grow a new generation of farmers to take care of our soil and water.”

In 2015, Farm Aid invested funds in programs that:

  • Help farm families stay on the land with legal resources, business planning, financial assistance and mental health support;
  • Increase access to family farm food through expanded farm to school programs, farmer cooperatives, food hubs and farmers markets;
  • Make organic certification accessible and affordable for beginning farmers;
  • Recruit and train beginning farmers and increase their access to farmland;
  • Support farmer-to-farmer programs for more sustainable agricultural practices;
  • Advocate for local, state and federal policies that defend and bolster family farm agriculture; and
  • Empower and support immigrant, refugee, and socially disadvantaged farmers and farmworkers.

“Over the past 30 years, Farm Aid has provided more than 2,000 grants to more than 300 food and farm organizations,” says Farm Aid Executive Director Carolyn Mugar. “Year after year, we are honored to partner with these grassroots organizations in their work to change the farm system from the ground up.”

In Illinois, where Farm Aid held its 30th annual benefit concert in September of this year, Farm Aid invested $67,500 in 10 organizations that support family farm agriculture, social justice and the Good Food Movement.

Awardees included:

  • Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Renewable Living in Chicago, IL, to provide technical assistance to Midwest farmers of color seeking access to Chicago markets;
  • Growing Power in Chicago, IL, to support the Fresh Moves Mobile Market, which brings healthy, fresh, affordable produce to food-insecure neighborhoods;
  • Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, IL, to support the Windy City Harvest program, which provides aspiring urban farmers with training, tools and resources to develop and expand their urban farm businesses;
  • The Land Connection in Champaign, IL, to expand access to a mentorship program that connects beginning and transitioning farmers in Central Illinois with experienced farmers; and
  • Illinois Stewardship Alliance in Springfield, IL, to strengthen and grow grassroots advocacy for policies that support family farming in Illinois.

Farm Aid also made disaster grants of $30,500 to five organizations to convene a summit for service providers and Texas farmers affected by chronic drought. Farm Aid awarded individual emergency grants of $500 to 22 farm families facing economic crises or natural disasters, such as tornadoes and flooding. In addition, Farm Aid’s Farmer Leadership Fund awarded more than $13,000 this year to elevate farmer voices in policy discussions and develop leadership skills.

For a complete listing of Farm Aid’s 2015 grants, visit

Farm Aid’s grant-making is one aspect of its work to keep family farmers on the land, growing good food for all. Other Farm Aid programs inspire an increased demand for family farm food, advocate for policies that serve farmers and consumers alike, and invite everyone to be part of building a thriving family farm system of agriculture.

Farm Aid’s annual concert is a major effort of the organization, offering the opportunity for tens of thousands of people to gather together each year to show support for family farmers. The annual Farm Aid concert features performances donated by top artists, HOMEGROWN Concessions® made with family farm food, and the HOMEGROWN Village of hands-on activities that showcase family farmers, soil, water and ways we all connect to the roots of our food.

To join Farm Aid on #GivingTuesday and support the ongoing mission to build a family farm food system that protects our farmers, communities, planet and health, visit

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. For 30 years, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised more than $48 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 For more information about Farm Aid, visit

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