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Organic-centric Farm Aid returning for live show in September


Farm Aid is back in 2021 with a live and in-person show, but like in many recent years with this annual concert, it’s more likely that people will be wowed by the music than they are by any real support for American agriculture. This year’s show is going to return to Hartford, Connecticut, on Sept. 25.

What do people get from Farm Aid? Performances by Willie Nelson & Family, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds, and Margo Price, to name a few. But they also aren’t likely to see any real semblance of modern agriculture on display. The event is more a celebration of a very specific type of farm: namely small and organic.

At the 2019 Farm Aid concert in Wisconsin, “As a farmer I felt a bit out of place,” said Michelle Miller, aka the Farm Babe and an AGDAILY columnist. “The tone was, because we aren’t small organic farmers, we’re nothing.” 

Miller said she wished to see more representation from farms of all sizes, in addition to organic and conventional farms. “Global food security takes all types: Big, small, organic, or not. They all have a role and a job to do, and they deserve respect and understanding.”

Continue reading Miller’s experience here: Farm Babe: As a farmer, I felt disrespected and out of place at the Farm Aid concert 

In addition to being anti-GMO, Farm Aid gets a large chunk of its sponsorships from companies that don’t support modern technology in agriculture and have a large organic presence. For example, previous sponsors of the Farm Aid concert include Chipotle, Organic Valley, Horizon Organic, Whole Foods Market, and Patagonia. 

Farm Aid has been running for 35 years and says it has raised more than $60 million to support its programs. However, during her time at the concert, Miller could not find a farmer that Farm Aid had actually helped. Recently, Farm Aid said it provided $400,000 to family farmers during the coronavirus pandemic. These grants, which were distributed in $500 increments, were to help farmers meet household expenses.

This year’s Farm Aid will be held at Xfinity Theatre. In addition to the headliners noted above, Sturgill Simpson, Tyler Childers, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Bettye LaVette, Jamey Johnson, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Allison Russell, Particle Kid, and Ian Mellencamp will play as well.

Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. EDT July 23. Prices range from $65 to $305 and will be available for purchase here.

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