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Indiana Ag News Headlines
Farm aid festival focuses on sustaining small farms
Indiana Ag Connection - 09/25/2023

The Farm Aid Festival, founded by Willie Nelson in 1985, has held its third event in Indiana. The event, attended by musicians and farmers like Lauren McCalister and Brett Volpp, emphasizes sustainable agriculture and small farms. McCalister, director of the People's Cooperative Market in Bloomington, aims to dispel the American nostalgia about farming being a solo endeavor.

McCalister and Volpp, along with other farmers, view agriculture as a mission beyond just food production for the community. They focus on helping more farmers achieve success and sustainability in the marketplace, with a focus on legacy and setting up small farms for more people in the area.

Farm Aid, a unique event where artists perform at their own expense, has been a platform to address issues affecting America’s family farmers. John Mellencamp, an Indiana native and Farm Aid board member, emphasized that the aim is wellness over profit, highlighting the ongoing impact of corporate agriculture on the sanctity of farming.

Another noteworthy presence at the festival was the Jamerson family from Legacy Taste of the Garden, an organization committed to preserving agricultural legacy and empowering diverse communities in Indiana. The organization strives to bridge the gap between local producers and consumers and address the significant loss of Black farmers over the years.

Farm Aid program director Shorlette Ammons spotlighted the resilience of farmers like Norman Greer, who despite historical struggles and systemic challenges, continue to farm. Denise Greer Jamerson, Norman's daughter, was present to share the inspiring story of her father's resilience, symbolizing hope and perseverance for future farmers.

The festival, combining music, advocacy, and shared experiences, emphasized the importance of sustainable and inclusive agriculture, emphasizing the need for collective efforts to support small, diverse farms and promote sustainable practices.

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