In this season of Pumpkin Patches, Harvest Celebrations, and Thanksgiving, TisBest’s Partnership Coordinator Kyle Lawrence Spotlights our Charity Partner, Farm Aid.
I spent the first third of my life growing up in the Midwest. We were surrounded by cornfields and farms – three sides of our house were enclosed by them. Seeing the hard work and long hours a farming family puts in for their livelihood every day is imprinted on my mind.
Growing up, I remember hearing about Farm Aid. The charity was inspired by the Live Aid concert held in 1985 when Willie Nelson remarked that it would be nice if there were a similar program for America’s farmers. Nelson, along with fellow musicians Neil Young and John Mellencamp, launched Farm Aid. They all agreed that family farmers were in dire need of assistance and decided to plan a concert to raise awareness.
The first Farm Aid benefit show was put together in six weeks and was held on September 22, 1985, before a crowd of 80,000 people. It raised over $7 million for America’s family farmers. Performers included Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Loretta Lynn, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and many others.
Farm Aid focuses on several strategic points in its efforts to help family farms thrive. They are (from the Farm Aid Website):
- Promoting Food From Family Farms
We know that to keep family farmers on the land we have to increase the number of people buying their good food. From our annual concert event that features family farm food and unites farmers, artists, and concerned citizens, to our inspiring and informative tv, radio, mail and web campaigns (including our HOMEGROWN.org website), we are building a powerful movement for good food from family farms.
- Growing the Good Food Movement
In order for family farmers to thrive we have to create more markets for them, giving more people the opportunity to access family farm food. Farm Aid fosters connections between farmers and eaters by growing and strengthening local and regional markets and working to get family farm food in urban neighborhoods, grocery stores, restaurants, schools and other public institutions.
- Helping Farmers Thrive
Since 1985, Farm Aid has answered 1-800-FARM-AID to provide immediate and effective support services to farm families in crisis. Now Farm Aid’s online Farmer Resource Network connects farmers to an extensive network of organizations across the country that help farmers find the resources they need to access new markets, transition to more sustainable and profitable farming practices, and survive natural disasters.
- Taking Action to Change the System
Farm Aid works with local, regional and national organizations to promote fair farm policies and grassroots organizing campaigns designed to defend and bolster family farm-centered agriculture.We’ve worked side-by-side with farmers to protest factory farms and inform farmers and eaters about issues like genetically modified food and growth hormones. By strengthening the voices of family farmers, Farm Aid stands up for the people upon whom we all depend. Farm Aid’s Action Center allows concerned citizens to become advocates for farm policy change.
Through the power of music and awareness, the charity has raised over $50 million since it began. You can find more information about Farm Aid at https://www.farmaid.org.
Kyle Lawrence is TisBest Philanthropy’s partnership coordinator. He works with businesses to make sure their TisBest order runs smoothly from ordering to redemption. If you’re a business customer, drop Kyle a line at email@example.com.