Farm Aid Sustains: Forget all the pricey concessions and luxury accoutrements enjoyed by the moneyed set. The 22nd Farm Aid, mounted this year on New York City’s Russell Island, offered something satisfying for country cousins and city slickers alike — good, green news about good food. And the music was tasty too. (Short story: Go sustainable and support local growers.)
What began as an ambitious attempt to bail out financially strapped farmers in the dark days of the Reagan years has grown into a visionary initiative to bring about fundamental reforms to our profoundly out-of-whack systems of food production and consumption. In its present incarnation, Farm Aid is as much about getting needed support to the country’s vulnerable family farms as it is about reminding the country why it needs family farms in the first place. As Farm Aid program director Ted Quaday put it during a recent radio appearance, “We see lots of people all across the spectrum, all across the country, coming together for a variety of different reasons” in support of what Farm Aid calls the “Good Food movement”; or, in the words of the always-colorful Jim Hightower, “the Upchuck Rebellion.” It’s about farmers, sure, but it’s about all the rest of us, too.