9/27/2012 – A crowd of over 30,000 made a big donation to family farmers and got a wonderful event in return last Saturday. The 27th Farm Aid concert took place at Hershey Park Stadium with the feel of a county fair/protest rally.
Small business agriculture is under tremendous pressure from new threats like shale fracking for natural gas. Farm Aid, founded by superfriends Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp, remains a vital support net for American farmers. On stage there was incredible music but also moments to highlight important issues.
Neil Young played a memorable, light drenched set with Crazy Horse. Young paused between songs to speak about the roots of their mission:
“Why we’re still here: When you go to your market, try to buy something that came from really nearby. Its great to buy from the USA, but its even better to buy something from your neighborhood or your county or your state. Our farmers are competing with an agri- business that is… huge. And they’ve got lobbyists in Washington buying this and buying that so that [family farmers] can’t get what they need. [Family farmers] can’t stay in business; they get choked out of business because of big corporations.”
Young gave the crowd this take-away:
” What we want is for you to buy food that matters!”
Willie Nelson brought activist John Trudell to the stage just before his signature closing set.
Trudell, a Native American, brought his appeal for hemp farming in the USA:
“As a person of the land and as a human being I relate to farmers as being people of the land. With all of the problems that we are confronted with and are faced with…I would like you all to consider learning the realities of industrial hemp.”
The crowd cheered and Trudell added:
“The economic and environmental realities of industrial hemp; teach it to the young. Have your organizations and the people who represent you; and take it upon yourself, to learn the realities of industrial hemp It will save the family farm. [Hemp] will give the young farmer a future. It’s a part of American history. It’s always been here… And in the next election 2016… Vote Hemp!”
The work of Farm Aid continues year-round: Consider a donation at farmaid.org
Chris Goldstein is a respected marijuana reform advocate. As a writer and radio broadcaster he has been covering cannabis news for over a decade. Questions? [email protected]