Archive for the ‘Farm Aid’ Category

We Salute Willie Nelson & Family

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

“Willie Nelson Got Me Stoned and Stole All My Money” – Jack Johnson (Farm Aid 30)

Friday, December 9th, 2016

Jack Johnson performs “Willie Got Me Stoned and Stole All My Money” at Farm Aid’s 30th anniversary concert at FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island in downtown Chicago, Illinois, on September 19
by: Will Hodge

It’s understandable to think that Jack Johnson might’ve been a little nervous before his afternoon set at Farm Aid 30 this past weekend. After all, it’s been almost a year since the last time he and his band have played a show together, and it’s been two years since he last played Farm Aid. But speaking with Rolling Stone Country a few hours before taking the stage, the relaxed surfer-turned-musician seemed none too worried.

“We don’t do sound checks too much,” said Johnson, sitting comfortably among the packed-in gear of his makeshift rehearsal room. “We just come together an hour or so beforehand and try new things and figure out what we’re going to do.”

This doesn’t mean that the singer-songwriter and his rock-solid backing trio (Zach Gill, Merlo Podlewski, and Adam Topol) weren’t taking the gig seriously. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Johnson, who is already known for mixing music with altruism throughout his own career by starting the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation in 2008 and by donating 100 percent of his 2010-2013 tour profits to charity, sees Farm Aid as an important opportunity to raise awareness and to engage with the struggle of family-owned farms.

“I know so many people that, if they could only go to one show a year, they’d choose Farm Aid,” he said. “And that goes for me too.”

To commemorate this year’s Farm Aid festivities, Johnson wrote a new song that could not have been more tailor-made for the event. “Willie Got Me Stoned and Took All My Money” is a playful, barroom piano-led ditty retelling a night of cards-and-cannabis with Willie Nelson, Farm Aid’s founder and president. The inspiration for the song came to him while reading Nelson’s biography, It’s a Long Story,and he came across the mention of Harlan Howard’s “three chords and the truth” songwriting mantra. Introducing the new tune at Farm Aid, Johnson told the crowd, “This next song has got three chords in it, and it might be a little too honest.”

Although brand-new songs can often land flat during a live debut, the Farm Aid audience was immediately and enthusiastically on board from the first few lines:

Willie got me stoned and took all my money
I was 50 dollars up and then my mind went funny
It didn’t really help that I didn’t know the rules of the game
And it probably didn’t help that I couldn’t remember my name

Between Johnson’s new song and Toby Keith’s classic “Weed with Willie,” it seems that cautionary tales of the country legend’s marijuana are in high demand.

Willie Nelson signs checks for Farm Aid Grant recipients

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Today we announced Farm Aid’s 2016 grant recipients. Here’s Willie Nelson signing each of the grant checks before they go out in the mail!

Willie says, “Farm Aid is proud to make grants to support so many good people engaged in the work of changing our food system. The real power of Farm Aid’s grants is in the network of changemakers they knit together, in cities and rural areas across this country.”

$556,315 was granted to 82 family farm, rural service and urban agriculture organizations in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Grants ranged from $5,000 to $20,000.

To read more about our amazing grantees and the inspiring work they do, check out

Willie Nelson and Family – Milk Cow Blues (Farm Aid III 1987)

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Willie Nelson and Mary Pat Davis, “Walking After Midnight” (Farm Aid VI) (1993)

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

Wilie Nelson and Mary Pat Davis perform “Walkin’ After Midnight” originally by Patsy Cline at Farm Aid VI in Ames, Iowa, on April 24, 1993.

Willie Nelson and Neil Young, “Four Strong Winds” (Farm Aid 1993)

Thursday, December 1st, 2016


Support Farm Aid #GivingTuesday

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016
hands planting
Dear Linda,
Last month, Farm Aid received a donation along with this note:

In 1985, I pledged $20 through the concert telethon line when I was a college student. Later, I realized that I did not have the money to send in. Last night, my college roommate reminded me that we never sent our donations in. I am a single mom of two college students now and I don’t make a lot of money but I want to pay what I promised I would 31 years ago. Please accept my apologies. I wish that I could afford to do more. Thank you.

This generous sentiment energized all of us here at Farm Aid to keep up the fight for family farmers and good food. Here is a person who, despite her own difficulties, stayed true to her word by honoring a 31-year old pledge to do good in the world. Inspired by the first Farm Aid concert, she continues to believe —  like we do —  that family farmers are essential for the well-being of all of us.

We all have intentions that we don’t always follow through with for various reasons: We get busy, we forget, or our intentions are too big to fulfill at that moment. But the chance to follow through on your promise is always there.

Whether you’ve intended to give to Farm Aid in the past or you donate regularly, we hope you’ll see #GivingTuesday as a chance to fulfill your intention, and strengthen our mission to keep family farmers on the land and grow the good food movement. In 31 years, Farm Aid has raised more than $50 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture thanks to big-hearted donors like you.
Today is your chance to join millions of people who are using #GivingTuesday as a way to do good in the world! We hope you’ll use this opportunity to support Farm Aid and make a difference in the lives of family farmers and all of us who eat.
Thank you, from all of us at Farm Aid.

PS —  Today only! One of Farm Aid’s generous donors has pledged to match gifts up to the first $2,000 donated. Give a gift to support family farmers right now and see it doubled!
Photo © Lise Metzger

Happy Thanksgiving from Sirius/XM Radio: Farm Aid Feast for the Ears

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

SiriusXM Willie’s Roadhouse

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy our annual six-hour Farm Aid feast for the ears, followed by some Turkey Day family time with Paula Nelson and her sister Amy Nelsonbroadcasting from Austin, TX from 6 pm midnight!

Happy Thanksgiving from Farm Aid

Thursday, November 24th, 2016


Farm Aid: Grateful and Galvanized

Thursday, November 24th, 2016
Grateful and Galvanized
The Thanksgiving season is an opportunity to reflect on the things for which we are grateful. Around here, we’re thankful for our community: our partners, family farmers, and you —   the generous supporters who make our work possible.
The Farm Aid staff has had a welcome distraction from politics the past few weeks, as we’ve been deeply involved in our annual grant review process. In the divisive climate the election brought about, this process has been a wonderful reminder of the ways that our work brings together all kinds of people into a community for change. Despite the broad brush being used to paint whole swaths of our country a deep, solid color, our long experience has been that Americans —   all of us, no matter where we live or where we’re from —   share many of the same values at our roots, even as we each remain uniquely individual in our experiences and outlook.
This year, we met family farmers, in rural towns and big cities, who are growing good food while addressing serious challenges like climate change, the humane treatment of animals and corporate power.
Roberto Melendez and family
In Virginia, the Melendez family believes their success depends on strong relationships, beginning with their relationship with their animals. The cattle, pigs, sheep, turkeys and quail at Happy Family Ranch graze on pasture and receive only non-GMO, antibiotic-free feed. They are not confined, “because we wouldn’t like it ourselves.”
Carole Morrison
Carole Morison is a Maryland farmer who took a brave step to speak out publicly about the contract poultry industry. She managed to get out of it and eventually retrofitted her chicken houses with perches, windows and doors to raise pastured chickens for eggs.
Finally, Farm Aid is hugely grateful to you —   our supporters! We cannot do our work, and build the movement for family farm food, without you.
On November 29, we’re participating in #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to generosity and giving back. Last year’s #GivingTuesday raised more than $116 million from 700,000 generous donors in more than 70 countries. We hope you’ll join us on this empowering day to celebrate and support good work being done across the world, including right here for family farmers.

Remember Farm aid on #GivingTuesday (November 29, 2016)

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

Saturday, November 12th, 2016


Willie Nelson, “Always on My Mind” (Farm Aid, 2014)

Saturday, November 12th, 2016

Farm Aid Supporters 2016

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016


Here’s more great photos of Farm Aid folks from Alice, in Atlanta. Thanks, Alice! And here’s Alice in her Tao of Willie Shirt, one of my favorites.   Thanks, Alice. You out-did yourself this year. Alice is one of my friends and Willie Nelson fans and Farm Aid Supporters who help tell the story of Farm Aid with pictures and interviews.


Here’s Dot and Dee (sounds like a ’50’s group), from Florida and Virginia, respectively, who also wrote about their experience at Farm Aid.  It was Dee’s first Farm Aid concert, and she has been writing from that perspective.

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Dee is wearing the 2016 Farm Aid Shirt.

I love seeing all the shirts.  You can get a shirt too, for yourself or to give as a gift (even if you didn’t make it to the concert at Farm Aid’s website.  They have lots more things than shirts, too.


Alabama Shakes, Farm Aid 2016

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016