We often highlight the potential for Good Food businesses to revitalize economically challenged communities and improve the lives of those who live there. Few businesses combine both of those elements in one person as much as Chicago’s Westside Bee Boyz. Founder Thad Smith’s beekeeping and honey company is still quite small, but he has big dreams for the company. He views it as a platform for community and young entrepreneur development in North Lawndale and other troubled communities in Chicago.
Farm Aid publishes a series of profiles on its website of “Farmer Heroes.” Their most recent profile is of Darius Jones, a young Chicagoan and friend of FamilyFarmed, for whom the “hero” title is apt. A troubled youth that resulted in him being incarcerated also set him on the path to the cutting edge of urban agriculture in his hometown.
As has been the case since its very beginning in 1985, the nonprofit Farm Aid organization’s annual schedule is built around a mega-star fundraising concert held in a different city every year. But when it came to Chicago for its milestone 30th anniversary concert, Farm Aid presented events that provided deep perspective on the farm crisis of the 1980s that gravely threatened tens of thousands of family farmers, and spurred the organization’s creation.
Farm Aid’s effort to assist family farmers and expand the Good Food movement continue year-round, so the organization started by big-hearted music legends isn’t just about the music. But Farm Aid’s annual benefit concert is what made it famous. And the 30th anniversary concert they staged in our hometown of Chicago on Saturday was one hell of a show.
As always, the Farm Aid concert held Saturday in Chicago was one of the entertainment events of the year, featuring founders Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp, fellow Board member Dave Matthews, and numerous other great performers. But as this photo essay by Good Food on Every Table shows, Farm Aid is about much more than the music.
Chicago will host the 30th anniversary Farm Aid concert this Saturday (Sept. 19). Residents of the nation’s third most-populous city will have the opportunity to reacquaint with issues concerning family farmers, through the highest-profile — and most star-powered — event that benefits them and their causes. Farm Aid is not just about the music, though.
Farm Aid’s website includes a number of stories about “Farmer Heroes,” and one recent post featured Living Water Farms — which just happened to be one of the nine businesses that participated as Fellows in the first year (2014-15) of FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator.
FamilyFarmed and Good Food on Every Table are honored to re-publish, with permission, a column by music legend Willie Nelson about Farm Aid, the organization that advocates for family farmers and is best known for its annual concert that raises money to support those farmers and help them stay on their land.