Upstate N.Y. to get Farm Aid
ALBANY, N.Y. — Singer Willie Nelson is taking his annual Farm Aid benefit concert to upstate New York with an all-day festival of music and locally grown food in September.
The event in Saratoga Springs, 28 miles north of Albany, will feature Nelson and other Farm Aid board members John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews, as well as other artists to be announced soon. Tickets go on sale to Farm Aid members June 18 and to the general public June 28, the Farm Aid organization announced on Friday.
The concert will be Sept. 21 in the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
At a stop in Albany on Thursday, Nelson said the Northeast is fertile ground for new farmers and sustainable agriculture. Farm Aid's mission is to keep family farmers on the land and support the movement toward healthy, locally grown food, he said.
“There's a whole lot of small family farmers in upstate New York,” Nelson told reporters on his tour bus in Albany before heading south for an appearance at a country music festival in the Catskills. “I think this is a great place to try to reach some family farmers.”
Nelson said Farm Aid exists because government agricultural policies often favor large corporate-owned farms rather than small farmers. “Small family farmers really need help; the big corporate farmers are doing OK,” he said.
Nelson said he wants to encourage more young farmers to get back on the land and encourage people to feed their families wholesome food from farms closer to their homes.
“More and more people are asking about where their breakfast comes from, why it comes from 1,500 miles away when there's a farm next door,” Nelson said. “A lot of people are thinking about what we're feeding our kids. Young people are trying to stay healthy, wondering who's watching out for our food supply.”
In New York, there's a heated debate in farm country over shale gas development, which is under a moratorium while state officials complete an environmental and health review. Some farmers envision gas leases as a solution to their financial struggles, while others oppose gas drilling for fear of accidents polluting water and air.
“I'm against it,” Nelson said. “It's bad for the land, bad for the farmers, bad for the soil. It's just all-around a bad idea.”
“If farmers could make a good enough living farming, they wouldn't feel pressured to lease their land for drilling,” said Cara Fraver, an organic farmer from Easton who spoke to reporters on Nelson's bus.
“We need to guarantee farmers a living wage for what they do,” Nelson said.
Farm Aid, which has been held almost every year since 1985, provides concert-goers with a Homegrown Village that features local farmers and foods as well as educational activities related to the Good Food Movement, which promotes humane, organic, sustainable agriculture.
The organization has raised more than $43 million since 1985 to support programs that help small family farms, expand the Good Food Movement and promote locally grown food. Farm Aid has made grants of more than $2.5 million in the Northeast during the past 28 years, according to the organization.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Scientists hope tiny robotic bee’s big dreams take flight
- ISIS beheads American photojournalist who was kidnapped 2 years ago in Syria
- Police say couple wanted Amish girls for slaves
- Some states say discrimination against sick creeping back under Obamacare
- Scathing report says college trustees fail in mission
- Mortgage deal isn’t likely to cost $17B