Why we became a Farm Aid sponsor
It kinda seems like a no-brainer, right?
Farm Aid is a concert benefit founded by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp in 1985 (with Dave Matthews joining in 2001), and has grown into a comprehensive organization that offers funding, informational resources, and support services to family farms in crisis. This nonprofit organization’s mission is to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep families on their land. To this date, Farm Aid has raised more than $53 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture.
With deep roots in the agricultural community, SVO founders Corwin and Jefferson were familiar with Farm Aid and their influential work long before SVO was even a seed of an idea—so once SVO was up and running, it seemed natural to reach out to an organization that values the farmer and the food chain.
We made the 7 hour drive from Harrisonburg, VA to Hartford, CT in a 15 passenger van with several of our growers and spent Saturday diving into all there was to see, hear, and taste at the festival. Early in the day, we were invited to the main Press Event, where we learned the stories of struggling farmers who were able to stay afloat thanks to Farm Aid’s resources. We learned about local Connecticut farmers of all ages, and innovative ways they are keeping farming alive in their communities.
With our SVO tent up and running, we invited visitors to learn about our Farmer Focus Business Model and raising chickens The SVO Way. Visitors could also test drive our website and enter in the 4-letter farm ID to see how a customer is able to trace each chicken to the farm it was raised on. But the greatest part of the tent was having our farmers present to talk to visitors about how we do things differently, share their experiences with one another, and answer questions about the chicken industry. Farmers representing Pine Grove Farm, Pleasant Hill Poultry Farm, Horseshoe Bend Farm, and the Coffey Partnership Farm took turns with the non-stop stream of curiosity.
The HOMEGROWN Concessions® featured delicious foods (and plenty of SVO chicken!) sustainably produced by family farmers utilizing ecological practices with a commitment to a fair price for farmers—so diners could choose any meal from any menu and knew it was going to be good. When we weren’t chatting with visitors, we each had a chance to roam the festival grounds and see what the other vendors were sharing. The HOMEGROWN Village featured interactive exhibits and activities from food and farm groups from across the country. Exhibits from soil, water, energy, food, and farming through art, games, and hands-on activities entertained the concert-goers. The HOMEGROWN Skills area provided skill-shares and demonstrations, and even a place to share seeds. On the FarmYard stage, farm activists, farmers and concert artists discussed urgent issues facing farmers, as each panel openly discussed possible solutions.
The music from the day-long festival floated through the air and once the sun went down, we packed up the tent and caught the last artists of the evening—the Farm Aid founders. For some of us, seeing live performances by the artists whose music we—and our entire generation—grew up with, was a truly a once-in-a-lifetime incredible experience.
We look forward to continuing to sponsor Farm Aid because the average age of a farmer is about 20 years older than it was just fifty years ago. We want to encourage future generations to choose this lifestyle...its why we do what we do because, well, where would we be without farmers?
If you’re interested in donating to Farm Aid and lending a hand to those who help the families who grow our food, check out the link below for more info: