What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Farm Aid raises money, awareness for local farmers

Posted September 13, 2014
Updated September 15, 2014

— The 29th annual Farm Aid concert was held Saturday at the Walnut Creek Amphitheater in Raleigh with performances by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and others.

Since 1985, Farm Aid has raised more than $45 million to help family farmers keep their land and publicize locally grown food.

"When you look at your food in the morning, your breakfast, you wonder where does that come from. Did it come from 1500 miles away or could it have come from your local farmer," said Farm Aid founder Willie Nelson.

Amy Fiedler, a local, small family farmer attended the event. She owns Springhouse Farms just outside of Boone. Last year when heavy rains flooded her farm, she turned to Farm Aid for a little help.

"Farming is my livelihood, it is my soul source of income," she said. "The fact that they came through for me was amazing."

Fiedler grows organic vegetables and pasture raised pork. Restaurants including Cafe Love in Durham use locally grown produce.

"We have been in business for three and a half years. The number of farms we have available to us has grown from like 20 to more than 50," said Cafe Love employee Matthew Daniels.

Farm Aid is in its 29th year, but its founders hope the need for the effort has an end on the horizon. 

"We love Farm Aid, but we don't love that we are doing Farm Aid. It's not a celebration, it's a mission to change what is going on," said founder Neil Young.

Other performers include Dave Matthews, Jack White, the Preservation Hall Band and Carlene Carter.





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  • USMC Vet Sep 15, 2014

    Glad to hear there's help for them. The ones out our area work so hard, often for little return, and often against Mother Nature's seeming desires for them to fail.

  • UpChuck Sep 15, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Yeah, I thought that was kind of out of tune with the rest of the event, as well.

  • icdumbpeople Sep 15, 2014

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    Not only that. but somewhere in that family - a person/ people probably worked 7 days a week to be able to "give" all this land to his children. It is called America... or at one time it was.

  • icdumbpeople Sep 15, 2014

    I was a little disappointed... Jamie Johnson was the highlight of the show. Back in the day - these would have been very patriotic. I was a little disappointed to be quite honest.

  • Jerry Sawyer Sep 15, 2014
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    We don't need any "awareness" for local farmers. What are we suppose to be "aware" of? Bet there was lots of "weed" at the concert.

  • Earth Brooks Sep 15, 2014

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    And Clarence Thomas, who used to be, and still essentially is, one of their lawyers.

  • A cold, hard dose of Hans Sep 15, 2014

    We don't need farmers. We have Monsanto.

  • Mr. Right Sep 15, 2014

    Good concert other than Neil Young's political rants. It's also hard to listen to him sing about saving the earth just before he boards his private fuel guzzling jet and flies home.

  • censorbait Sep 15, 2014

    Competent farmers who can manage well and produce do not need Farm Aid. Used to be that most rural families tended small farms they owned. Then it became more profitable to lease the farm out and get a job in another field or start another type of business or profession. They rented out the land to a local farm boy. This scenario was played out over and over until the local boy was tending dozens of such farms that were once subsistence farms. And most of these boys were country smart and worked hard and now have large farming operations and have purchased a lot of land over the years. It was not handed to them by inheritance in the vast majority of cases as one poster suggested. I am an old country boy and I know how things have evolved. There are many folks who expect to make a living playing farmer(a romantic notion) and selling a few products at a farmers market but that in and of itself will not pay the bills. Boils down to production and management skills.

  • jackaroe123 Sep 15, 2014

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    Sorry, I'm talking from years of stored knowledge rather than any one thing I can actually cite. I guess one point of criticism I'd mention is that accepting Farm Aid $ comes w/ strings-attached, and the influence of larger farms means those strings are tailored for them, leaving smaller farms at a disadvantage, trying to comply w/ conditions that don't really take their size and structure into account.