Tuesday, October 1, 2013

CT NOFA goes to Farm Aid 2013!

John and I representing CT NOFA at the Homegrown Village
Any followers of CT NOFA will know that this week had been a whirlwind of planning and organizing our fabulous Special Culinary Fundraiser at Winvian (in case you weren't there, you definitely missed out), but we now can take some time and reflect on some of the events CT NOFA has been able to be a part of as the summer officially drew to an end. One of the most exciting event we were able to participate in was this years annual Farm Aid benefit concert in Saratoga Springs, NY last Saturday. Representing CT NOFA for the day at the interstate NOFA booth were Board Member John Turenne and Event and Program Manager Stephanie Berluti (Me). 

Farm Aid started as a benefit concert on September 22, 1985, in Champaign, Illinois, held to raise money for family farmers in the United States. The concert was organized by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young, spurred on by Bob Dylan's comments at Live Aid earlier in that year that he hoped some of the money would help American farmers in danger of losing their farms through mortgage debt. The concert takes place in a different location each year to spread the good word on supporting the family farms in the US rather than the corporate industrial farms that have destroyed our once rich agricultural businesses. This years line up was incredible to say the least, it would be impossible to list them all. In addition to the original Farm Aid performers and board members this years line up featured Dave Matthew, who joined the board of directors in 2001, Jack Johnson, Toad and the Wet Sprockets, and NOFA's personal favorite of the day Lucas Nelson and the Promise of the Real.
John demonstrating how to thresh 

Upon arrival John and I, along with representatives from NOFA VT & NY were welcomes into the venue by the sweet acoustic sounds of Dave Matthews' sound check, a sign that the day was going to be great fun. CT NOFA, along with the other NOFA chapters and the National Organic Coalition (NOC), shared a booth in the Homegorwn Village not only to promote the important organic work we all do, but to also educate on the rich tradition of heritage grains and wheats in the Northeast. We were able to interact with concert go-ers with a hands on demonstration on how to thrash red fife wheat; attendees were able partake in the threshing process from sheave to kernel. 

Inside the Homegrown Village, over 50 food and farm groups, artists and DIY agrarians from across the country—from the local to the national—showcased a wealth of interactive exhibits for entertainment and edification. As an advocate for organic and local agriculture, who often is discouraged by the prevalent unawareness I encounter everyday, it was so reassuring to see so many organizations who are fighting for a change in our contemporary food system. 

Enjoy our pictures from the day!
Robert of NOFA NY, aka the Grain Guru
Starting the day off right!

A view of the fair grounds

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