What Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young started as a benefit concert in 1985 has expanded into a whole host of resources dedicated to building a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. It’s called Farm Aid, a non-profit that provides a valuable network of hundreds of farmer and advocacy organizations, operates a farmer support hotline, maintains an online community where people can share stories of their experiences with agrarian life, and works with local, regional and national organizations to promote fair farm policies. Their resources offer a little something for everyone –farmer, foodie, advocate, and the clueless looking to get clued in.
Are you a farmer in need of assistance? Farm Aid has had a farmer hotline for 28 years that can offer you immediate crisis support. In 2012, a year of historic drought, they received nearly 800 calls and emails from farmers. For less immediate needs, check out their farmer resource network, an interactive resource hub that will connect you to information from trusted organizations on a wide range of topics that include those related to farm start-up, beginning farmers, sustainable farming practices, and financial resources.
Just getting started in your homesteader way of life? Check out their delightful online community, connecting family farmers and eaters like you through the shared experience of growing food and participating in agrarian life. On this site, you can join a ‘group’ that is focused on a specific topic like fermentation or backyard chickens, you can read informative blog posts about agrarian life and beyond, or you can check out their Homegrown 101 library to find succinct, practical information and how-tos for growing, cooking, making and building.
Or maybe, you’ve got an interest in impacting policy? Well you’re in luck. The Farm Aid Action Center makes it simple for you to show your support for family farmers. Right now, you can speak out for mandatory labeling of all GE foods; take action against the abuse of antibiotics in agriculture; join Will, Neil, John, and Dave to support fair markets for farmers and ranchers; or tell Congress to get their act together in crafting a farm bill.
Perhaps you’re a new family farm supporter with an itch for information? Farm Aid has an abundance of valuable information available at your fingertips. Go to their Ask Farm Aid Column that lays out some of the most timely issues facing family farmers. Check out their farmer heroes page to get a glimpse of the family farms their helping to protect. And use their interactive map of winter farmers markets to find one near you!
Organic Valley is committed to building a future for sustainable family farming and is happy to support Farm Aid in their effort to establish a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America.