Friday, September 30, 2011

Lauren's Farm and Food Roundup

LaurenThis op-ed by Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, examines the motives of large meatpacking corporations who are blocking passage of the GIPSA rule, calling it a “job-killing” rule. As Roger writes, “Anyone who has been paying attention to what has been happening to livestock production in this country over the past 30 years must ask the question, 'Kill jobs? Compared to what?' More than one million beef and hog farms have gone out of business since 1980 due to the current anti-competitive and abusive practices by processors."

An interesting graphic summing up Mark Bittman’s Times article, “Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?” in which he compares the cost of feeding a family at McDonald’s with the cost of cooking a meal with cost-effective ingredients from the grocery store.

Extreme weather events, power outages and technical problems with cooling systems have led to the deaths of thousands of animals in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). While the owners of such operations argue that there are sure to be losses in extreme weather conditions, the question remains whether those animals would have survived if they were allowed to roam freely in a natural environment.

Some farmers who lost their harvest to flooding from Hurricane Irene are taking a creative approach to getting back on their feet. Throwing an end-of-season barbeque fundraiser, making an online registry requesting chicken feed and heirloom seeds, and expanding a greenhouse to protect more plants from Mother Nature are just a few of their big ideas.

On Monday, the USDA awarded $494,000 to AquaBounty, a company developing genetically modified salmon. The funds were allotted to study technologies that would render the genetically engineered fish sterile, reducing the likelihood they could reproduce with wild salmon, should any escape into the wild. According to research released by Food and Water Watch in June, up to 5% of AquaBounty’s salmon may be fertile, a possibility that has many environmentalists concerned that GMO fish could mate with wild fish.

Last week, the newly formed U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance began its campaign to restore Americans’ confidence in our country’s food supply via full-page newspaper ads and live-streaming panel discussions online. But has the dialogue been one-sided, with small farmers’ voices eclipsed by the group’s central members: the largest agriculture marketing groups in the country, including the American Egg Board and the National Pork Board?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New York dairy farmers describe surviving Hurricane Irene

MattLast month's Hurricane Irene is a distant memory for most people. They've moved on to other things — summer's green leaves are starting to turn, kids are back in school and football's back on TV. But as we posted last week, areas of New York and Vermont are still just barely starting to recover from the storm, which did cause incredible damage. The video below from, featuring David and Denise Lloyd, got passed around the Farm Aid office today as a moving illustration of the devastation Irene caused to their farm, crops and animals. Accompanied by terrifying photos and video, they describe how they will have to rebuild to keep their dairy farm, Maple Downs, operating.

Hurricane Irene Aftermath: One Farmer's Story from SkeeterNYC on Vimeo.

In the video David says, "People... come up to see landscape, which is our agriculture, which is our corn crop. It's part of us being in business to help maintain that whole picture in our community. This community started with agriculture and it's still a very important part of this community."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Food Day 2011

JenOctober 24, 2011, is Food Day! The goal of Food Day, according to organizers, is to bring together Americans from all walks of life—parents, teachers, and students; health professionals, community organizers, and local officials; chefs, school lunch providers, and eaters of all stripes—to push for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way.

Notice anything missing there in that description? How about the people who produce our food—THE FARMERS?

That’s why Farm Aid’s getting on board! One, we never miss a party; and two, if we want to make positive change in our food system, it’s got to come from farmers and eaters working together.

Food Day is modeled after Earth Day and is intended to generate recognition of the challenges we face in changing the way we think about, produce, and consume food in America.

The ultimate goal of Food Day is to start a movement to “Eat Real” in communities across the country.

What does it mean to “Eat Real?” Food Day is about fighting for sustainable, humane, healthy, accessible and safe food. Specifically, Food Day is aimed at:

  • Promoting safe, healthy foods to reduce obesity and diet-related diseases
  • Supporting sustainable, family farms
  • Expanding access to food and alleviating hunger
  • Protecting the environment and animals by reforming factory farming methods
  • Promoting children’s health by reducing junk food marketing aimed at kids
  • Supporting fair conditions for all food and farm workers

Food Day is all about people power—people coming together for events in their communities all over the world. You can check here to see what’s going on in your neighborhood.

If you’re a farmer, we’d like to encourage you to host an event on your farm. Invite folks to come and learn about the roots of their food!

If you’re not a farmer, we encourage you to organize a potluck or an apple picking party! Or go to a farmers market, go to a farm, meet a farmer… Do something to connect with a farmer… because good food starts with farmers! Check out for great ideas to help you celebrate good food, from canning and making pear butter to building your own chicken coop!

Let us know what you’re going to do on Food Day to celebrate the source of our food: family farmers!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Power of Slow

AliciaNext month, I’m traveling to Slow Money’s National Gathering in San Francisco, CA. The event will gather dynamic individuals, companies and organizations that are all investing in social change—with food!

In our too-fast world full of companies that are “too big to fail” and a national debt too big to imagine, Slow Money begins with a refreshingly simple principle: slow and small are beautiful.

It’s a powerful notion causing people to pause and reconsider the long-term prospects of our giant, industrial, globalized food system controlled by just a handful of BIG corporations. Instead, the ever-growing Slow Money community is careful with its money, keeping investments closer to home in order to grow an economy with integrity, stability and sustainability.

Says Slow Money founder and chairman Woody Tasch in a recent Fast Company article:

What we are interested in is healthy food, sustainable farms, and soil fertility—and the many benefits these generate: less carbon in the atmosphere, fewer chemicals in the environment, more biodiversity in the soil and in our food supply, fewer pesticides and herbicides on our food, stable water supplies in our aquifers, less soil erosion, fewer food miles, healthier diets, maybe even healthier communities.

So what does that mean in the real world? Last year's gathering in Vermont brought together 600 people that together invested $4 million in 12 small food enterprises – a local, organic food home delivery service, an organic creamery, an inner city farming project and much, much more! The ultimate goal is to get 1 million Americans investing 1% of their money in local food systems, within a decade.

Farm Aid is attending to emphasize the importance of the family farmer in the big picture. Without thriving family farms, healthy food systems are impossible. And in order to understand farms, you have to understand the logic of a farm business and diverse financial needs of farms of all types and sizes. In an era of bank consolidations, tightening credit conditions and volatile farm prices (the price farmers earn), so many farmers are still struggling to obtain the credit and financing they need for their farms.

Slow Money is a fantastic opportunity to ground our food system and bring it back to its roots: a diverse landscape of thriving family farms that are bringing good food and strong economies to communities across the country.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Farm Aid Music Monday, Starring Willie & Lukas Nelson

MattThis Farm Aid Music Monday has a new song from Farm Aid 2011 in Kansas City. Here's Willie Nelson performing "Texas Flood" with his son, Lukas. Once again, if you've got a relatively modern computer, try watching this fullscreen in HD for the best quality.

Check out more videos on Farm Aid's YouTube channel.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Telling the story of farmers affected by Hurricane Irene in New York and Vermont

JenWhile the Eastern coastline braced for Hurricane Irene back on August 27 and 28, it was inland rural and farm country that unexpectedly bore the brunt of the storm damage through extreme flooding. While we’ve recently been talking about extreme drought affecting farmers, our farmers in the Northeast received far more rain than usual this year, a combination of a wet, cool and long spring with record rainfall and higher-than-normal snowmelt. By August, the groundwater table was still quite high. Then Irene roared in.

In New York, in the Hudson Valley, the Catskills and the Black Dirt region, farmers were flooded out, with farm fields ripe for harvesting completely underwater. In Vermont, rivers overflowed their banks, blowing out bridges, collapsing houses, flooding fields, and in some cases completely changing their course, so that where a farm field once sat, a river now runs through it.

Both New York and Vermont have received federal disaster declarations, meaning that farmers and other residents who suffered losses from Irene can receive disaster payments to reimburse for those losses. Dairy farmers were particularly hard hit, with no choice but to dump their milk when milk trucks couldn’t get to their farms for pickups due to roads being completely destroyed. There’s little that could hurt more for a dairy farmer than to watch their hard work run down the drain, except the loss of members of their herd--many farmers saw their cows washed downstream in raging rivers. In the weeks since, many farmers have already been reimbursed for their dumped milk and they’re slowly getting back to normal, although some farmers are still relying on generators for power. And many are determining whether they’ll even be able to plant crops in their fields by spring.

With power and phone lines back in operation, farmers are beginning to call the Farm Aid hotline, and we’re directing them to resources that can be of assistance. But the farm communities in New York and Vermont have proven to be extremely supportive. Efforts in Vermont have raised nearly $2 million dollars in disaster relief, through a Vermont Public Radio appeal and a concert given by the Vermont band Phish. In the Black Dirt region, a fundraising concert is scheduled for this weekend. The way that communities and neighbors have pulled together has been at once inspirational and also completely expected—that’s just the way neighbors do things in communities like these.

Some of the anecdotal stories we’ve heard:

• A CSA farmer, after accessing the damage to his farm, informed his members that he was very sorry but he didn’t expect to be able to distribute any more produce. Each and every CSA member reacted positively, many saying they already received more than they had expected, and they’d all sign up again for next season.

• A young farm couple, their farm now a river, are temporarily growing again on land donated to them so they can get back on their feet.

• Farmers cut off from civilization, their driveways and roads washed out, got knocks on their doors from neighbors who walked, climbing over debris and fording rivers, with shovels and rakes in hand to help clean up.

• Crews of volunteer teams, some as large as 100 people, doing everything from cleaning up debris-strewn fields to helping to rebuild barns.

• Anonymous donations received by farmers, with notes that say “We appreciate your hard work” and “Thank you for feeding us.”

The cleanup from Hurricane Irene will take months, if not years. But a good start has already begun, with the resilience, volunteerism and generosity leading the way.

If you’re a farmer affected by Hurricane Irene, share your story with us. Or let us know how you’re supporting your local farmers in this time of rebuilding.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lauren's Farm and Food Roundup

LaurenAn infographic displaying the results of a survey from the new U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance on the attitudes and opinions of over 3,000 farmers, ranchers, and consumers. How much do you know about YOUR food? (By the way, the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, if you haven't heard, is a new $30 million effort purporting to represent farmers. But if you want to join it will cost you at least $50,000 to join the Board which includes Beef Checkoff, Beef Federation, National Milk, National Pork Producers, Poultry & Egg, Neb. Soybean Assoc., Iowa Soybean Board, IL Soybean Assoc and MN Soybean Council.)

While some Texas farmers are seeing the end of their cattle ranches as a result of the ongoing drought, farmers in less-parched regions of the country are seeing an opportunity expand their operations. Check out this story featuring Illinois farmer Chad Bicker, who has been able to make additions to his herd faster than anticipated.

Some Vermont dairy farmers have been reimbursed for the milk they had to dump in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irene, but many are now feeling the more long-term effects of the disaster. Some are still having a tough time transporting their milk down nearly impassable roads, while others have had to take their cows out of milk production to devote their time and energy to cleaning up their farms. Hear their stories.

Dreaming about chocolate but looking for a new recipe? Not sure what to do with the eleven zucchinis in your vegetable garden? Gojee shows you how to build a delicious meal around your cravings AND what you've got in the cabinet.

The Lower Colorado River Authority is considering a drought measure that would cut off water to about 250 farmers in some of the biggest rice-producing counties in Texas if water levels fall below a certain level in lakes Buchanan and Travis on March 1. Hundreds of South Texas farmers are scrambling to figure out how they’ll keep their farms going through the most severe one-year drought in Texas history.

A recent NPR segment on how A&P grocery stores shifted the food industry from small mom-and-pop stores to big national chains.

A NY Times article on Fordham University shutting down an on-campus CSA started by one of its students. With questionable justification for the termination of the program, Fordham has blocked access to farm-fresh fruits and vegetables from its students and staff, as well as from the soup kitchen that was taking in leftover produce. A good illustration of the obstacles we face when trying to bring family farm food to institutions.

Join Willie, John, Neil and Dave in calling for fair markets for family farmers and ranchers!

JenYesterday, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack calling for action--action that is a long time coming.

Back in 2010, when the U.S. Departments of Justice and Agriculture announced a series of joint workshops to examine issues of corporate concentration in agriculture, family farmers were hopeful that change would come. The workshops--five of them spread throughout the year, covering all aspects of agriculture from seeds, dairy, poultry and livestock, to price margins--were a unique opportunity to examine corporate concentration, a lack of competition and lax enforcement of antitrust rules in agriculture. It was a chance for farmers and eaters to share their experiences about how this concentration affects not just farmers, but also all of us who eat and our food system as a whole. Farmers traveled from all over to the workshops, leaving their farm work to others that day (and if you know farmers, you know they don't often do this!), because of the great potential of the workshops. In addition to lost work, time and travel expenses, many farmers faced intimidation and retaliation, especially those working within the contract poultry system.

The last workshop was held in Washington, D.C., on Dec 8, 2010. Today, on September 22, 2011, we still have not heard anything back from either agency about what they heard or what they plan to do about it.

The time for action is now! Family farmers deserve fair markets. Given fair markets, we keep our family farmers working, and put new farmers on the land. And that's what we need to do if we're going to produce good food for all of the people who need it. We're talking about jobs here--something our country needs more than anything right now. Fair markets in agriculture keep family farmers in jobs, create new farmer jobs, and increase the potential to create new jobs within the local and regional food systems these farmers are growing.

If you'd like to add your voice to the voices of Willie, John, Neil and Dave, please click here to send your letter to Attorney General Holder and Secretary Vilsack. Thanks for your support for fair markets, family farmers and a stronger America!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lauren's Farm and Food Roundup

LaurenGoogle recently unveiled plans to collaborate with Duke University and Duke Energy in funding a pig waste-powered methane power plant in North Carolina. The refuse from 9,000 hogs can produce enough electric power to run 35 homes for an entire year!

For more information about how the plant will work, check out this link.

While we applaud innovative renewable energy efforts, one of our staff members brought up the possibility for this kind of innovation to further encourage industrial agriculture and factory farms—a dangerous potential indeed.

Another update from Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine on the reality of “superweeds” destroying cropland as they gain resistance to Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup. It turns out the widespread use of Roundup has led to the evolution of far-tougher-to-eradicate strains of weeds. As a farmer interviewed for the article says, “This can change the whole farming industry if we can’t get a handle on it.”

Here’s a video of what the farmers of Evening Song Farm in Cuttingsville, Vermont, found when they returned to their farm after Hurricane Irene had passed through, causing Mill River to flood and wash away their vegetable fields. This is just one example of the many farms in Vermont that were destroyed in the storm.

Despite all of the destruction, there is good news on the way for Northeastern farmers whose livelihood was affected by Hurricane Irene. This Wall Street Journal article describes how the federal government is reimbursing Northeastern dairy farmers the full market value of the milk they had to abandon when Hurricane Irene prevented them from getting it to market.

On the other end of the natural disaster spectrum, wildfires are raging throughout Texas as a result of the ongoing drought. Images from the Statesman Photo and Multimedia Blog paint a grim picture of the current state of affairs in the state.

The USDA announced that they will ban the sale of ground beef tainted with six toxic strains of E. coli bacteria that are increasingly showing up as the cause of severe illness from food. Up until now, only one strain of E. coli was officially banned; these six additional strains in beef account for about 40,000 illnesses each year.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Eating for two! A Farm Aid staffer and new mom learns to eat again.

HildeI have this little cartoon character of an ear of corn saying “I’m in everything” taped on the wall in my office. I found it one day while doing research about corn ethanol and thought he was endearing. Coming from a background in agricultural policy and nutrition, I have a pretty good understanding of our modern food system. I get that corn is in A LOT of the food that we eat, as well as the historical and political reasons for why it got there and why it’s probably sticking around awhile. I’m also pretty familiar with the social, environmental and health reasons for why omnipresent corn in an increasingly processed food system may not be such a great thing for farmers and eaters alike. But these are BIG juicy topics, for another day.

My point today: When certain foods are in everything, and you can’t eat that food - stomachs start to growl!

I am recently a new mom. My darling little gal is almost 4 months old, and in that short life has had some serious stomach woes. She cries; we cry. She’s up all night; we’re up all night. It’s a routine that moms and dads of all types, but especially those of colicky children can relate to (and for that, I am truly sorry!). So, after trying every medicine, body therapy and feeding strategy in the book, I decided it was time to really start paying attention to what I eat.

The most common culprits of food intolerance for breastfed children turn out to be soy and dairy proteins. I agreed to a new soy- and dairy-free diet thinking dairy was going to be the tough one to give up. And it is hard...really, really hard. But oh boy, soy, now there’s a doozy! Soy, like corn, is just about in everything too. I didn’t think I ate that much processed food, but lo and behold almost every cracker, bread, frozen meal, cereal and pasta sauce I had in my kitchen had some highly processed version of soy or dairy snuck in there.

So what’s a starving mama to do?

I walked on down to the farmers market, and guess what? Although there were some beautiful cheeses and delicious looking baked goods, most everything was clearly recognizable as soy- and dairy-free! Turns out it’s hard to sneak soy lecithin or milk casein into fresh-picked carrots or kale, and that took the guessing out of that game.

The point of my little story: corn is good, soy is good and dairy is good too. Yes, I love all three, and I really cannot wait to have a scoop of ice cream again! But in an ever complex and processed food system, it can be borderline impossible to know what the heck you’re putting in your body when you get too removed from both the original product and the source. When you keep it wholesome and close to home, buying good healthy food from family farmers, restricted diets begin to feel not quite so restricting.

I'd love to hear from the moms out there who have gone through a similar experience--especially if you have some recipes to share!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Exceptional Drought across the South and Southwest

MatthewAs advocates for American family farmers, we hear from farmers and agencies across the US looking for assistance and to offer their help. Through these calls and our work, we have experienced various disasters and extreme weather events over the years. However, this year has been rather extreme.

The massive drought in the south is unprecedented. In July, nearly 12% of the U.S. was classified as being in the highest classification of drought, “exceptional.” According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, this has never happened in the monitor’s 12-year history. Most of the exceptional drought is in Texas (where wildfires are now raging as a result), Oklahoma and Georgia. Lower classified drought, yet still potentially devastating to family farmers, is prevalent in up to 59% of the country.

Drought wreaks havoc on family ranches. Pasturelands become ungrazeable. Ranchers have to cut into their winter reserved hay and other feed to supplement the unavailable pasture. Excessive supplemental feeding in summer and fall increases costs for winter boarding of livestock. As an added compounding factor, drought reduces the harvest of hay and other feed crops. So, ranchers are forced to sell down their herds or pay exorbitantly higher rates for feed that has to be shipped in from other states.

Hay lifts in Oklahoma are one solution that Farm Aid, the Teamsters, and local groups like Oklahoma Black Historical Farmers Project use to help family farmers hold on until the next rain. Click here for News9 coverage of last week’s haylift of 10 tons of hay. However, another solution we are working to promote is drought preparedness. Texas A&M conducts great drought workshops through their Cooperative Extension. Some of the solutions offered include a reduced herd size for a given pasture, choosing appropriate livestock breeds for the region and using pasture seed that is more resilient in droughts. In the past, we have also partnered with Holistic Management International (HMI), to help Texas farmers and ranchers learn HMI's whole-farm planning system that benefits the land, animals and people, and specifically how to plan for drought.

Preparedness is the best offense against natural disaster and other farming challenges. Our Farmer Resource Network can direct farmers to organizations in their area that can help farmers be prepared. If you are experiencing hardship now due to natural disaster, or know someone who is, please call our hotline (1-800-FARM-AID) to get referred to emergency programs in your area.

Farm Aid Music Monday, Starring Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds

MattThis Farm Aid Music Monday has another song from Farm Aid 2011 in Kansas City. Here's Willie Nelson introducing fellow Farm Aid board member Dave Matthews, who then performs "Where Are You Going" with Tim Reynolds. Once again, if you've got a relatively modern computer, try watching this fullscreen in HD for the best quality.

Check out more videos on Farm Aid's YouTube channel.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Family farmers and the Teamsters come together to help drought-stricken farmers in Oklahoma

JenFarm Aid and the Teamsters organized a second haylift for farmers and ranchers devastated by drought in Oklahoma to deliver much-needed resources donated by Wisconsin family farmers. The plan came together at the annual Farm Aid concert, held Saturday, Aug. 13, in Kansas City, Kan., where farmers shared stories of parched farmland and starved livestock. The first haylift was organized on August 25; this second delivery will happen this afternoon.

Wisconsin-based Family Farm Defenders put the call out for hay donations and farmers generously stepped up to donate tons of hay that can be used as feed for livestock. The hay will be delivered to the Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project, which is coordinating distribution. The entire state of Oklahoma is under a severe drought classification, with 70 percent of the state classified as under “exceptional” drought conditions, the worst rating. Due to the drought, farmers and ranchers have no pasture on which to graze their livestock and their crops have been scorched. Hay is difficult to come by and expensive, with the cost of transporting hay from non-drought states to the South being the largest expense.

The first hay delivery from Wisconsin was transported by two trucks donated by Shomotion, a live touring company that Farm Aid has worked with in the production of its annual concert. This second delivery of 10 tons of hay is made possible by Teamster members from across the Midwest. Teamsters Local Union 135 in Indianapolis, Ind.; the Ohio Conference of Teamsters; and Kansas City’s Joint Council 56 all donated their time and tractors for the haylift. The Teamsters have a long history of partnership with Farm Aid; Teamster drivers volunteer each year at the annual Farm Aid concert and Teamsters have donated trucks and drivers for prior haylifts.

Other areas of the U.S. have been drastically impacted by drought, and Farm Aid has received offers of hay from many generous farmers across the Midwest. If you would like to help cover transportation costs, or have transportation to make available, please contact Farm Aid at 1-800-FARM-AID or

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Lauren's Farm and Food Roundup

LaurenThere are always emails flying around the Farm Aid office with links to thought-provoking websites and articles on food, farming, health, environmental issues and agricultural policy—and we want to share them with you! Every week I’ll gather up all of the latest informative, compelling, and quirky material that we stumble on in a “Farm and Food Roundup!”

September 3rd marked the final day of a 2-week sit-in front of the White House in protest of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. If approved, the pipeline would pump over one million barrels of "tar sands" oil from Canada to the USA every day and run right through the middle of family farms and the precious Ogallala Aquifer. On the final day of the sit-in, the demonstrators revealed that 618,428 people worldwide signed the “Stop the Tar Sands” petition to President Obama. Over the 2-week period, 1.252 participants were arrested.

Check out photos of the final demonstration day

Take a look at this cool graphic to see how large your backyard would need to be for you to fulfill all of your dietary needs from living off the land—it’s probably less than you’d think!

This Wall Street Journal article discusses how Monsanto Co. corn plants in Iowa are being wiped out by the rootworms that they were genetically modified to fend off. It examines the idea that if bugs develop resistances to genetic modifications, we may be doing more harm than good to our food supply.

Stunning and tragic photos of the Vermont flood damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

An interesting New York Times article about the pioneers of home economics class and how reviving the subject in schools could help to fight obesity.

Have you read any interesting farm and food news lately? Let me know!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Farmer Hero Friday: Sherri Harvel of Kansas City, Missouri

MattToday's Farmer Hero Friday shines a spotlight on Sherri Harvel. She started Root Deep Urban Farm ten years ago in Kansas City, Missouri and provides fresh, organic produce to families in the area.
Sherri Harvel
Sherri’s passion for working outside rather than in an office is what first drew her into farming. “When you are out there growing just kind of takes over you,” Sherri says. “It’s something you feel inside.”
Sherri explains the benefits of her farm to the neighborhood this way: “It turned a blighted area into a nice surprise. It has helped inspire other people in the neighborhood to grow food. It feeds my family and my CSA members and has definitely given me an appreciation for the people that grow our food.” Sherri has also made many friends at her weekly farmer’s markets. As she puts it, “I get hugs almost every market.” One of Sherri’s proudest accomplishments is inspiring other people to grow themselves.
Click here to read the rest of our profile of Sherri.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Meeting the Hardy Family at Farm Aid 2011

GlendaThe red-shirted Horizon Organic farmers always stand out in the crowd at Farm Aid concerts. It's wonderful to have these dairy farmers mingling with the many other kinds of farmers, especially in HOMEGROWN Village's FarmYard. Farmers definitely enjoy meeting each other and talking about their farms!

Concertgoers get to meet farmers, too! I was so pleased to be introduced to Henry and Theresa Hardy and their family from Farmington, Maine as the Horizon Organic Hope Award winners. The whole family—including their two Ashleys! (one is a daughter-in-law)— attended Farm Aid 2011 to claim their award. I know that the "twice-a-day" dedication to milking cows means that travel is a challenge, and it's terrific that Horizon Organic makes it possible for these farmers to enjoy the Farm Aid concert.

Considering the hundreds of excellent family farmers in the Horizon Organic pool, I am certain the Hardys run a truly impressive operation. I'm always fascinated by the complexity and beauty of an organic dairy farm. Since the Farm Aid office is here in New England, I hope I can go on a field trip sometime to their farm!

Here are Henry and Theresa showing off the Horizon Organic carton featuring their farm and admiring the cake that celebrates 20 years of Horizon Organic:

(Photo by Cathy McDermott-Tingle)