Michael Stewart Foley in front of a grafitti covered wall

Press Releases | July 14, 2022

Farm Aid Names Michael Stewart Foley as Cultural Impact Director

July 14, 2022

Brittany Vanderpool

Farm Aid Names Michael Stewart Foley As Cultural Impact Director

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Farm Aid welcomes historian, writer and activist Michael Stewart Foley as the organization’s cultural impact director, a newly developed role at the organization that advances Farm Aid’s mission through a deeper understanding of the contributions of Farm Aid to American culture, history and social change.

Foley is a writer and historian of American political culture. He grew up outside of Boston in a family with a history of labor activism and political campaigning, and said he was obsessed with politics and popular music at an early age. He now writes, teaches and speaks about the ways that Americans have experienced politics and practiced their duties as citizens, from grassroots social movements to urban subcultures. Additionally, Foley is an expert on the intersection of popular music, politics and social movements.

“Farm Aid holds a unique place in American cultural history. Since 1985, Farm Aid has worked at the intersection of music, food and social change,” said Executive Director Carolyn Mugar. “Michael’s unique understanding of social movements and the power of music will bolster Farm Aid’s work. His expertise will deepen and extend Farm Aid’s impact and, more importantly, the impact of the family farm movement.”

Foley is the author or editor of eight books, including “Front Porch Politics: The Forgotten Heyday of American Activism in the 1970s and 1980s,” which details the family farm movement of the 1970s and 1980s, including the origin of Farm Aid, and “Citizen Cash: The Political Life and Times of Johnny Cash,” which connects what Foley calls Cash’s “politics of empathy” with his role as a prominent political artist in the United States.

“As a historian who has written about the rural uprising in response to the 1970s and 1980s farm crisis, I have admired Farm Aid and all that it has done to keep family farmers on the land, promote sustainable agriculture and the Good Food Movement, and join with other movements for social, racial and climate justice,” said Foley. “Farm Aid lives and breathes a politics of empathy and models a way of relating to each other and to the Earth that we dearly need right now. I am thrilled to join the Farm Aid family in this historical moment. We have a lot to do, and I look forward to building upon the momentum of the Farm Aid community!”

In his role, Foley will advance Farm Aid’s mission by advancing economic justice for farmers and racial equity in food and agriculture, as well as promoting regenerative and resilient agriculture. Foley will work to engage and mobilize a larger community to create change in our farm and food system, deepen our democracy and work toward a thriving rural America.

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, Dave Matthews and Margo Price host an annual festival to raise funds to support Farm Aid’s work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food. For more than 35 years, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised more than $64 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.

— 30 —

Donate today

Give $100 or more to get a Farm Aid 100% recycled aluminum water bottle!

Connect with us