FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 6, 2022
Farm Aid Names Shorlette Ammons As New Program Director
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Farm Aid is excited to welcome farm and food equity advocate Shorlette Ammons as the organization’s program director, responsible for providing strategic leadership and coordination, expanding Farm Aid’s engagement with partners and farmers in the farm movement, and leading Farm Aid’s work with and for farmers.
Ammons is a native of Beautancus, North Carolina, where she grew up in a large family of farmworkers, cooks and storytellers. Most recently she served as the equity in food systems coordinator/extension associate leading the racial equity work at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems at North Carolina State University. She was recently appointed to the Biden administration’s inaugural USDA Equity Commission and serves on the board of Land Loss Prevention Project, an organization based in Durham, North Carolina, that works to save and preserve Black family farmland. She also is a former children’s librarian.
In her work and daily life, Ammons seeks to lift up and be informed by familial ancestors like her grandparents, Grandma Adell and Grandaddy Rasper, daddy June, aunts Annette and Lou, uncles Shorty Buck, Ross and L.J., Cousin Brandon, as well as freedom fighters like Fannie Lou Hamer and educators like George Washington Carver. Ammons, her daughter and schnoodle still call North Carolina their home.
“In my family, food and music was always in the mix. Farm Aid brings together music, food and farming in a way that feels deeply familiar to my upbringing,” Ammons said. “I am so honored to be able to continue my advocacy and activism on behalf of small family farmers and rural communities — particularly Black farming families like the one I grew up in who remain on the frontlines and continue to be deeply impacted by discrimination. I’m so excited to be a part of the Farm Aid family!”
As program director, Ammons will lead Farm Aid in connecting with farmers and grassroots organizations from a stance of empathy and listening. Farm Aid seeks to understand and articulate the issues, challenges and opportunities of our farm and food systems, and to leverage the organization’s unique position to influence positive change. She also will help build and manage a growing staff who carry out Farm Aid’s programmatic activities, including:
- Grantmaking to bolster grassroots farm and food organizations to help farmers thrive, take action to change the system, grow the Good Food Movement and directly support farmers in times of crisis;
- Advocacy, including issues and policy analysis, grassroots advocacy and direct lobbying in coalition with partners to advocate for fair farm policies; and
- Direct service to farmers through our Hotline Program, Farmer Resource Network and the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network.
“Shorlette will bring a vital perspective to our work and the Good Food Movement as a whole,” said Executive Director Carolyn Mugar. “Her leadership and experience are invaluable to efforts to help family farmers thrive. We extend a warm welcome to our long-time Farm Aid partner.”
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.