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Friday, 27 September 2013 11:01

Farm Aid: Keep America Growing

By Mark Bolles | News

SARATOGA SPRINGS – While echoes of Farm Aid fade into memory and SPAC falls silent in autumnal grace, the message from the festival remains loud and clear “save our family farms.” Farm Aid has been steadfast in its mission to help small farms and agricultural communities nationwide through concert fundraisers and public awareness programs.

On September 21st the Saratoga Performing Arts Center had the honor of hosting the 28th annual Farm Aid concert. That honor came to Saratoga partly due to our commitment to the cause. We do support local agriculture. This is evident as our farm markets remain strong and families make the annual fall pilgrimage through corn mazes and into orchards to fill their baskets. Dave Mathews said it best in a press conference at the Spa Little Theater on the morning of the festival “apples in New York are awesome.” Although Dave’s sentiment was sweet, the tone of the address by members of the Farm Aid board, made up of, among others, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young  and Dave Matthews, was bittersweet.

There are mixed emotions explained Farm Aid founder Willie Nelson.

“We are glad we’re here but sad we’re here,” said Nelson in regard to the plight of small farms in America.

Issues of ongoing struggles were discussed such as corporatized mega farms “agribusiness” swallowing family farms. Modern concerns like genetically modified foods and climate change were also mentioned but the most heated topic of the day was hydraulic fracturing “fracking”.

Hydraulic fracturing is the practice of drilling and blasting through shale to release natural gas. Fracking presumably threatens farmland. The subject of fracking hit center stage with a surprise performance by the legendary folk singer Pete Seeger who delivered a new version of “This Land is Your Land” which warns against fracking.

For those in favor of hydraulic fracturing Dave Mathews had this advice “they can go frack themselves.”

If you think the issues at hand merely effect a small group of farmers in some town you never heard of, then get this; the predicament of our nations farmers concerns everyone who eats.

“We are not saving the farmers, the farmers are saving us,” Nelson said.

Wise words Willie Nelson.

So, how do we save ourselves? Grow the Good Food Movement—when you eat good food grown by family farmers, you know you are getting honest, real food grown by people who care about their land, their community and their future

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