Friday, September 07, 2007

Ryan says Farm Aid is a Family Affair

A year has passed and the stage is being set yet again for another
concert. This time we are in the Big Apple - Randall's Island in fact.
And as O. Henry once wrote, "It couldn't have happened anywhere but in
little old New York."

I am Ryan LaLonde and I will be the backstage blogger for the weekend. I will be running around and sticking my nose where it shouldn't be in order to give you some fun facts about what makes not only the concert so great, but the cause so important.

My family still has our family farm. It was founded in 1900 in Standish, Michigan by my great-great grandfather Samuel LaLonde. He came from a long line of Canadian farmers and left Canada to make his own American dream in Michigan. Our farm
survived the depression, drought, a barn fire in 1967, and most
importantly survived the generations.

My grandmother lives alone on the farm - grandpa passed in 2002. She
leases the land to what she calls a "young farmer - such a nice boy". His
name is actually Alan Schmidt. As grandma's says - "You know his mother
was a Reno - and the Reno's are you grandpa's cousins....so he is
family."

Alan has expanded his farming, and treats our land like it is own, and
has great pride in not only its appearance but its potential. Like so
many other farmers growing America's good food, he has had to grow more
and more to make what he and his family need to survive as farmers.

So what is my point for this jog down LaLonde family farm trivia? The
point is that while the performances are rocking, the crowd is cheering
and backstage is buzzing, their mission is that good food comes from
good people.

Family farmers working to make our eggs, cheese, tomatoes or soybeans - whatever it may be - that these are people to marvel at and admire.

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