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AWA at Farm Aid’s 25th Anniversary Concert

Animal  Welfare Approved was pleased to join more than 30 organizations supporting family farmers at this year’s Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope for America.  The AWA Farm Aid team, Beth, Emily and Brigid, arrived in Milwaukee  excited to participate in Farm Aid Eve, FARMpardy (AWA’s version of JEOpardy) and, of course, the 25th Anniversary Farm Aid concert.

We were welcomed with open arms and met so many lovely folks from Milwaukee and the surrounding areas.  Special thanks go out to Debi at Sign-A-Rama, who was so wonderful to work with and helped to make the Farm Aid Eve and Homegrown Village FARMpardy exhibits great successes.

Day 1 – Farm Aid Eve

Friday night was the Farm Aid Eve dinner and concert at the Pabst Theater in downtown Milwaukee and we’re proud to say that all of the meat at the event was provided by Animal Welfare Approved farmers!  Mountain Lane Farm in Wauzeka, WI (grass fed beef) and Fudge Family Farms (pastured pork)  from Alabama and surrounding states were pleased to share their Animal Welfare Approved products. The food was delicious and we were so happy to see everyone learning about Mountain Lane Farms and Fudge Family Farms.

Day 2 – Press Conference

Four AWA farmers joined us for the day:  Jill Johnson and Mary Wills of Crane Dance Farm in Middleville, MI and Blue Strom and Skye Zitkus of Shady Blue Acres in Richland Center, WI.  It was great spending quality time getting to know more of our farmers and they were all a huge help in our Homegrown Village exhibit, described below.

Notable quotes from the press conference:

Dave Matthews: “In order for all of us to be healthier as a nation, we have to be more concerned with what we eat, and for our environment we have to be more concerned about how we treat our land.”

Will Allen, urban farmer and co-founder of Growing Power: “Our responsibility is to make sure that everybody has access…to good, healthy, affordable food.”

Carolyn Mugar, Farm Aid’s Executive Director: “We have to deeply realize that family farmers are on the solution side of the problems in this country.”

Homegrown Village – FARMpardy!

AWA featured FARMpardy at the Homegrown Village, a lighthearted twist on JEOpardy in which contestants tested their knowledge about farm animal welfare, soil conservation, farming and consumer issues. Prizes included limited edition temporary tattoos including “Moo City,” “Free Bird,” and “Family Farmers Rock.” Through FARMpardy, AWA shared a few little‐known facts about farm animal welfare and the state of farming in the U.S.

AWA farmers Blue Strom, Skye Zitkus, Jill Johnson and Mary Wills even took turns playing Alex Trebek throughout the day and helped to make FARMpardy a very popular booth in the Homegrown Village.  And you don’t even have to take our word for it, according to Jackie Loohauis-Bennett of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “The game has Farm Aid-goers lined up to play…The game is a hoot, but the message is serious.”  Thanks again to everyone who played FARMpardy!  We were so glad to have met you all and your enthusiasm for FARMpardy was truly heartwarming.

The Concert

After an exciting, but very long and chilly day staffing the Homegrown Village FARMpardy booth, AWA staff and farmers were happy to join all of the other concert goers in the Miller Park Stadium for the rest of the concert.

No matter what was happening on the stage – whether it was Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews singing “Homegrown” or if it was Willie Nelson and  Steven Tyler singing “Once Is Enough” and “One Time Too Many” – the message and mission of Farm Aid to support and help America’s true family farmers thrive was clearly heard by the 35, 000 people in attendance.

A few more memorable quotes from the Farm Aid 25’s concert:

Dave Matthews: “The farmers on our good Earth are taking care of the land and taking care of our children.”

Neil Young: “Maybe you don’t realize what’s really going on with factory farms in this country, how they are displacing family farms at an alarming rate…Factory farms are the reason why we have food alerts. They are the reason why we have dying people and disease. Try to buy something from a family farm, something that’s sustainably grown. You deserve the best. Your children deserve the best.”

See a selection of AWA Farm Aid photographs here.

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