Living in New York City, the most rural experience that most of us have is hitting up a farmer’s market in Union Square or Brooklyn. It’s our chance to escape the life of processed food and grocery superstores and enjoy the crisp, fresh produce brought from outside of our urban surroundings. However, have you ever stopped to wonder where the fresh food and homemade goods at these markets come from?

Every year, more and more family farms around the country are forced to foreclose, as larger factory farms take over the agriculture industry. While this may not resonate deeply among those of us who live in big cities and survive primarily on takeout food, the issue is affecting small town businesses across America and has reached the attention of several big names in the music industry, all who wanted to help family farms thrive. And what better way to raise awareness and funds for local farms than to throw a benefit concert?

September 21, 2013 marks the 28th anniversary of Farm Aid, a benefit concert to raise money for America’s family farms. This organization has raised over $43 million since its start in 1985 and is led by board members including Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Dave Matthews. The annual concert takes place at a different venue around the country each year, and this year it is being held at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) in Saratoga Springs, NY.

As if seeing live performances from the four music icons on the Farm Aid board isn’t enough, they are also accompanied by different artists each year, all of whom want to help raise awareness about the importance of family farms. This year the lineup features Jack Johnson, Amos Lee, Kacey Musgraves, and many more. Other notable artists who performed in past years include Kenny Chesney, Jason Mraz, Norah Jones, Grace Potter, and Counting Crows.

Aside from a fantastic outdoor concert to raise money for family farms, Farm Aid also offers other ways to help the local agriculture business thrive. This year’s benefit concert is accompanied by film screenings, farmer networking mixers, farm tours, and more. And you can bet that the HOMEGROWN concession stands at this concert will have the best and freshest food you’ve ever had.

Even for those who cannot attend this year’s Farm Aid concert, the movement itself is aimed at raising awareness. It is a powerful thing for such noteworthy musicians to get involved with a small town issue, and donate their time and efforts to a non-profit organization to benefit family farmers around the country. They are making a difference, and using music to both celebrate and promote the American tradition of local farming.

More About Farm Aid
Farm Aid features the best that music has to offer, while remaining true to its ultimate mission. They 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.

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