September 26, 2008  

Contact: Heather Gray 404 765 0991

Federation/LAF Farmers and Staff attend the 2008 Farm Aid Concert
Farmers from Mississippi and Georgia Join others in Boston for Farm Aid

ATLANTA...On September 20, 2008 Federation/LAF farmer members Larry O'Neal and Cornelius Key of the Flint River Farmers Cooperative in Georgia, and Mississippi farmers Ben Burkett of the Indian Springs Farmers Cooperative, John Williams of the Beat 4 Farmer Cooperative, and Andre Matthews of the Family Farmers Cooperative attended the Farm Aid events in Boston. Federation staff Executive Director Ralph Paige, Georgia Director Shirley Sherrod, and Communications Director Heather Gray also attended the Farm Aid concert. "We were thrilled to once again join Willie Nelson and others in Farm Aid including supporters from around the country who have for 23 years advocated for and financially supported family farmers throughout the country," said Ralph Paige.

For the first time in 23 years, the Farm Aid event sold food that was exclusively either locally grown, or sustainably grown by family farmers in the New England area and from farm groups across the country. The variety of vendors was impressive (see the photos of the Farm Aid event including many of the vendors). Importantly, Farm Aid this year was a "green" event discouraging the distribution of paper and fliers; some of the 300 volunteers from throughout the Boston assisted in making the "green" policy work by standing at trash disposal sites that were for "recycle", "compost" and "landfill" items and they explained to attendees about the definition of each.

Speakers at the press conference in the morning of September 20 prior to the concert (that included Frances Moore Lappe, the renowned author of Diet for a Small Planet - 1971) stressed the need for supporting locally produced food and about the devastating impact of industrial agriculture on health and local economies. Go the the Farm Aid website for more information.

During the Farm Aid concert Federation/LAF Executive Director Ralph Paige was interviewed by reporter Bob Costas for Direct TV coverage. Paige was asked about the Federation/LAF's program work across the South to serve Black family farmers and about the much appreciated assistance from Farm Aid to assist farmers in need.

Note: The Federation/LAF, now in its 41st year, assists Black family farmers across the South with farm management, debt restructuring, alternative crop suggestions, marketing expertise and a whole range of services to ensure family farm survivability. 
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