Strength and Determination’ at Farm Aid 2019

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by: Thom Duffy

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Farm Aid on Saturday (Sept. 21) brought its all-star benefit concert to support family farmers to the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin — a state at the center of a deepening farm crisis, where an estimated three dairy farms a day are closing, advocates say.

Yet Farm Aid, now in its 34th year, is far more than a concert. The organization advocates year-round for a sustainable food system and this year’s event, once again, was a national gathering place for activists involved in food policy, social justice and the fight against climate change.

“You can get angry, you can get sad or you can get active,” says Julie Keown-Bomar, executive director of the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

While family farms are at risk, says Farm Aid communication director Jennifer Fahy, the organization confronts the challenge from “a place of strength and determination.”

Here are the best things we saw and learned at Farm Aid 2019.

A Commitment For The Long Haul

Farm Aid founder Willie Nelson is a national hero. He created Farm Aid in 1985 amid a foreclosure crisis that was throwing farm families off their land, and this event is now the longest running concert for a cause — a model of music activism and artist commitment for the long haul. 

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