Farm Aid Rocks for the Family Farmer... and More Sustainable Food

When Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp held the first Farm Aid concert in 1985, they wanted to help family farmers who were losing their farms to a one-two punch of low land values and high interest rates. These days, the motivation behind Mellencamp's song "Rain on the Scarecrow" seems distant, but Farm Aid concerts and support efforts continue -- their latest concert, sponsored by Silk Soymilk, was held on Saturday at Philadelphia's Camden, New Jersey's Tweeter Center, and featured Nelson, Young, Mellencamp, new partner Dave Matthews, and twelve other acts. Just as the concert lineup has changed, the organization's mission has shifted... slightly: while its website notes Farm Aid's main goal is to "keep family farmers on their land," it also claims that "Family farmers are our only guarantee for fresh, local food." Organizations given grants for the 2005 cycle include many groups devoted to promoting sustainable, organic and local agriculture. The concert itself has also become, in part, a celebration of greener food: according to the AP, fans had choices such as "...organic beer, pork sandwiches from a Missouri family's hog farm, soy milk and $9 organic hamburgers" at the show. Rock on, Farm Aid... let's hope there are many more concerts to come! ::Farm Aid via Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram