CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Farm Aid today announced that it distributed $573,514 in grant program funding this year. Farm Aid provided grants 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.
"Efforts are underway in communities across the country to meet the needs of family farmers and eaters," said 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 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.
In New York, where Farm Aid held its annual benefit concert in September of this year, Farm Aid invested $60,500 in programs that support family farm agriculture and the Good Food Movement, including $5,500 in emergency and disaster grants. Awardees included the National Young Farmers Coalition in Tivoli, N.Y., to reform federal farm programs to work on behalf of beginning farmers; the Agricultural Stewardship Association in Greenwich, N.Y., to develop the Greater Hudson Valley Farmlink; and the Regional Farm & Food Project in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., to establish a farmer and consumer cooperative in the region.
Farm Aid's grantmaking 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 everyone to engage in building a thriving family farm system of agriculture.
Farm Aid's annual concert is the organization's largest awareness-raising event of the year, with performances donated by top artists; HOMEGROWN Concessions® made with family farm food; and the HOMEGROWN Village, featuring hands-on exhibits that showcase family farmers, soil, water and ways we all connect to the roots of our food. In 2013, Farm Aid also worked to advance policies in support of family farm agriculture, including advocating for the passage of the farm bill, pressing for the labeling of genetically modified foods, petitioning the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to fix federal food safety regulations and encouraging restrictions to prevent the overuse of antibiotics in livestock production. Farm Aid increased the capacity of its Farmer Resource Network (www.farmaid.org/ideas) and the Farm Advocate Link, a network of farm advocates working on behalf of family farmers.
For a complete listing of Farm Aid's 2013 grants, visit www.farmaid.org/grants.
Farm Aid's mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual concert to raise funds to support Farm Aid's work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food. Since 1985, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised more than $45 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms. Join the Farm Aid conversation on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FarmAid. For more information about Farm Aid, visit www.farmaid.org.
SOURCE Farm Aid