This will be my 16th Farm Aid concert. I work for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), an organization born from the same parents as Farm Aid: the U.S. family farm crisis of the 1980s.
IATP and Farm Aid are fraternal twins.We definitely belong to the same family, we’re very close in age, but as often happens, one sibling is the cool one, hanging out with rock stars while the other, the nerd, spends time studying policy and international trade agreements and not wearing hip clothes.
I’m in charge of fundraising at IATP. This means I get to talk a lot about the work we’re doing, but I don’t often get the chance to interact with our partners and friends around the country. My volunteer job at the Farm Aid concert has been pretty much the same over the years; I help match members of the press with farmers, so that the actual stories, struggles and successes of farm families have a voice. Unfortunately, not everyone gets a one-on-one interview with Willie – but everyone can have an interview with a real family farmer. And I can help make that happen!
The annual Farm Aid concert is my chance to see everyone, catch up, and be reminded of the critical parts each individual, group and organization plays in this tremendous and important battle, fighting for family farmers and a safe and healthy food supply for all of us.
The battle isn’t getting any easier – not only do we have national and international policies stacking the deck against family farmers in favor of multinational corporate interests, but climate change is making extreme droughts, floods and storms commonplace.
The Farm Aid concert is one of the highlights of my year. For me, Farm Aid is a chance to recharge my batteries and remember who and what we’re fighting for -- and be buoyed by the excellent work being done by others in our extended family.
I can’t wait to meet the local farmers, oh, and eat as much Patchwork Family Farms pork as I possibly can. You can find them in the HOMEGROWN Concessions area – have a ham steak early, and then go back later for a pork chop. Trust me on this one.
If you can’t be with us in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, make a point to stop in at a local farmers market, buy some really great food, and thank the farmers who grew it. If you’re not sure, ask them their favorite way to prepare their food – I guarantee they’ll have an answer for you, and it will be delicious.
VP for Development
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy