Farm Aid announced in December it distributed $573,514 in grant program funding, including funds to 73 family farm and rural service organizations in 36 states and the District of Columbia that are working to strengthen family farm agriculture nationwide.
Two grants went to agencies in the region.
“Efforts are underway in communities across the country to meet the needs of family farmers and eaters,” said famed musician and Farm Aid President Willie Nelson. “We are proud that these grants from Farm Aid fund energetic and effective grassroots initiatives that strengthen family farmers and build the Good Food Movement.”
Farm Aid raises money through concerts by famous musicians, including Nelson, held each year at different venues around the United States.
Farm Aid’s annual concert is the organization’s largest awareness-raising event of the year, with performances donated by top artist Local grant recipients were:
• Regional Farm and Food Project, Saratoga Springs, $7,500 to launch the first sustainable farm and consumer cooperative in the Saratoga Springs area. For more information, visit www.farmandfood.org
• Agricultural Stewardship Association, Greenwich, $7,500 to support the development of the Greater Hudson Valley FarmLink Network to address farm affordability and land access for farmers in the region. For more information, visit www.agstewardship.org
Farm Aid officials said funds were invested in programs that:
• Help farm families stay on the land.
• Recruit and train new and beginning farmers and increase their access to farmland.
• Build new market opportunities for farmers and increase everyone’s access to good food.
• Confront corporate concentration in agriculture.
• Advocate for fair farm policies on behalf of all family farmers.
• Inform and organize farmers and eaters around issues such as factory farms, genetically engineered (GE) food, food safety, climate change and fracking.
• Support farmer-to-farmer programs for more sustainable agricultural practices.
“Farm Aid grantees work every day to change our food system from the ground up,” said Farm Aid Executive Director Carolyn Mugar. “We are honored to call these innovative folks our partners in the movement for good food from family farms.”
Farm Aid also issued disaster grants of between $2,500 and up to $10,000 to organizations to distribute to farm families facing weather disasters, while additional individual emergency grants of $500 were awarded to 15 farm families facing either economic crises or natural disasters. In addition, Farm Aid launched a Farmer Leadership Fund this year, awarding $5,514 in funds to elevate farmer voices in arenas where their perspectives are crucial, such as the American Public Health Association conference.
Farm Aid’s grant making is one aspect of its work to keep family farmers on the land, growing good food for all. In addition, Farm Aid provides direct services to family farmers, inspires an increased demand for family farm food, advocates for policies that serve farmers and consumers alike, and calls on people to engage in building a thriving family farm system of agriculture.
For a complete listing of Farm Aid’s 2013 grants, visit www.farmaid.org/grants.