Farm Aid is turning 30, and there’s a newly released YouTube video that talks about the group’s history. (The same YouTube channel contains videos of past concerts).
Farm Aid is a non-profit organization that was started by musicians Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp in 1985 to raise money to help keep family farmers on the land. To date, Farm Aid has raised about $45 million. The group hosts an annual concert that has featured more than 400 artists; concerts have been held in various locations across the country. The 2015 concert is slated for September 19th; the location has yet to be announced. The organization has moved increasingly into advocacy for the “good food movement.”
Co-founder John Mellencamp says this:
“We all see what’s happening with agriculture, what’s happening to our small towns. They are going out of business. That’s a direct result of the farm problem. We’re still doing Farm Aid because it is contributing. It’s doing a job.”
Musician Dave Matthews, who has served on the organization’s board since 2001, has this to say:
“What represents America? Certainly, I think that the family farm is a main ingredient of what made America.”
Farm Aid recently received a preservation grant from the GRAMMY Foundation to develop a plan to digitize, preserve and archive the legendary Farm Aid performances, which many regard as a cultural treasure.