Local groups to share in Farm Aid proceeds
SARATOGA SPRINGS Two local agricultural organizations have received grants from Farm Aid after September’s fundraising concert at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
When some $573,514 was distributed nationally last week, recipients included the Regional Farm & Food Project of Saratoga Springs and the Agricultural Stewardship Association of Greenwich. Each organization received a $7,500 grant.
Farm Aid grants range from $2,500 to $10,000, according to the organization.
“Farm Aid grantees work every day to change our food system from the ground up,” said Farm Aid Executive Director Carolyn Mugar. “We are honored to call these innovative folks our partners in the movement for good food from family farms.”
The Regional Farm & Food Project is being set up to establish a farmer and consumer cooperative for the greater Saratoga area.
“We are a community resource for farmers, consumers, entrepreneurs and policy makers,” the project says on its website. “We nurture small farms because we know that small farms don’t just produce food, they provide jobs, economic growth, open space, ecological services, scenic views, community character and preserve biodiversity — and they are a critical component of sustainable human and planetary health.”
The Agricultural Stewardship Association, which has been based in Washington County for a number of years, is a land trust dedicated to protecting farmland from development.
The Farm Aid grant is for a program called the Greater Hudson Valley Farmlink Network, which serves the entire Hudson Valley and has a goal of bringing young people into farming and helping them secure land from aging farmers looking to dispose of theirs.
“The goal of the program is to help locate and evaluate available farmland and match new and beginning farmers with landowners,” according to the grant application.
Farm Aid uses the money raised through its annual concerts to support small farms, small farm organizations and local food networks.
Farm Aid was founded in 1985 by musician Willie Nelson and has held annual concerts at various locations around the county to support the organization.
The SPAC event, the first of the concerts to be held in upstate New York, was a sold-out show that featured Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and others, including an appearance by folk music legend Pete Seeger. The group also organized farm tours and educational programs.