In my last post, I blogged about being back in
In 1987, when I was a cub TV reporter in
So, two decades later, it’s somewhat sad to see what’s become of Farm Aid. Read this description from a recent Boston Globe story reporting on this year’s upcoming Sept. 20th Farm Aid concert in
Farm Aid, the Big Kahuna of farm-relief benefits, was also founded on the belief that music has the power to raise consciousness as well as money - and not just among audiences. Attendees will be able to experience farm life firsthand in the Homegrown Village and eat local, organic, family-farm food at the Comcast Center's concession stands.
If you look through the Farm Aid website, it provides a list of laudable services for “family” farmers, if in fact your farm is in the business of producing “sustainable,” “local” and “organic” foods – what the site in no uncertain terms says is Good Food. I guess that means if you’re just a normal family dairy farmer in the
In fact, if you look at the bottom of the Good Food page, it makes it sound like our domestic, conventional food supply – which is what the vast majority of American farmers produce – is a hazard, not a benefit, to the rest of
Indeed, 98% of dairy farms are family owned, even if an identical percentage are not organic. For that matter, a significant portion of the nation’s organic milk supply is not produced by the small, family-farm types extolled by Farm Aid. Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to serve the niche markets that seem to be FA’s bread and butter, but it’s such a small sliver of both production and consumption that it hardly seems to be relevant. How helpful can any charity be if the litmus test for its largess raises the arbitrary bar to such heights?
And perhaps, in the end, that’s the logical denouement of Farm Aid after 23 years: what began as a mainstream, unifying effort to amalgamate support for agriculture has become a tool to separate good vs. bad farming and enforce a political correctness about how and where food should be produced. Isn’t that what Whole Foods used to be about?