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Farm Aid Offers Vision for Future of Food
USAgNet - 09/28/2021

Farm Aid 2021 marked the organization's return to a live festival this week, highlighting farmers who have withstood economic, operational and policy challenges and stand determined to create a better farm and food system - one that embraces diversity, sustains our natural resources and nourishes generations to come.

"So much has changed since we last gathered at Farm Aid in 2019," said Farm Aid President and Founder Willie Nelson. "We've all seen the pain brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, but our family farmers endured, growing the food we needed and offering solutions that are so essential to our country."

At a virtual town hall gathering Friday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Tina Smith (D-MN), the Agriculture Commissioners of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, along with farmers, partners and other policymakers kicked off the festival weekend with a robust discussion about core issues, including corporate concentration and consolidation, racial equity, debt relief and climate change.

Nelson was joined Saturday on the Farm Aid stage by fellow board members John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and Margo Price, along with Tyler Childers, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Bettye LaVette, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Jamey Johnson, Allison Russell, Particle Kid, Ian Mellencamp, the Wisdom Indian Dancers, and the Horse Hill Singers, who donated their time and talents for the nearly 10-hour show.

Throughout the day, artists and farmers joined together on the FarmYard stage to discuss challenges and opportunities in agriculture, including Black land loss, climate change and the solutions that family farmers bring to the table, and the day-to-day realities of being a farmer in an increasingly-consolidated farm and food system.

Farm Aid reaffirmed its solidarity with BIPOC farmers who are advocating for fairness across the system and highlighted the innovative progress in agriculture in the Northeast, including local and regional food systems, organic production and regenerative agricultural methods that mitigate climate change and build soil.

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