Missouri agencies received $25,000 of the $503,500 in Farm Aid grants in 2009, officials for the Massachusetts based organization announced last week.
The organization to support farmers held its annual fundraiser concert in October in St. Louis. The concert raised approximately $900,000 at the benefit, spokesman Brandi Horton said.
Farm Aid gave grants to 72 family farm and rural service organizations during the year. Highest totals of grant aid went to Texas ($75,000), Washington D.C. ($53,000), Massachusetts ($44,000) and Minnesota ($40,000).
Another $5,000 went to a Kansas City, Kan., organization that also serves Kansas City, Mo.
Farm Aid also distributed $61,000 in disaster relief grants during the year, Horton added. Those grants went to farm families who experienced weather disasters in 2009.
“It is inspiring and invigorating to see how much good work is happening to support family farmers and good food across the country,” Farm Aid President Willie Nelson said. “I am grateful that so many organizations are committed to serving family farmers and farm communities and creating a thriving future for family farm agriculture and good food for all.”
Programs funded this year included efforts to help farm families remain on their land, build new market opportunities for farmers and increase consumer access to good food, increase institutional buying of family farm food, confront the threat of corporate concentration in agriculture, recruit and train new farmers, and support farmer-to-farmer programs for more sustainable agricultural practices.
Funds will also support efforts to ensure that legislation enacted in the 2008 Farm Bill will be implemented in ways that serve the interests of family farmers.
“Farm Aid is proud to support the crucial hands-on work happening all over the country to keep family farmers on the land,” said Farm Aid executive Director Carolyn Mugar. “2009 has been a tough year for everyone, but farm families especially have struggled with low prices, tight credit and bad weather. These grants will help address the immediate needs of family farmers and continue to grow and strengthen the sustainable, family farm-based food system that helps us all thrive.”
In Missouri, $15,000 was slotted for the Missouri Rural Crisis Center in Columbia. The money will be used to support efforts that offer positive alternatives to the current agribusiness corporation model and rebuild the food system by linking family farmers directly to consumers.
The Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment, also in Columbia, was awarded $5,000. That money will be used for an action-oriented effort to stop the policies and practices of corporate agribusiness and government entities that are environmentally destructive and further corporate concentration in agriculture.
EarthDance in St. Louis was granted $5,000 to develop an organic farming apprenticeship program in St. Louis.
The Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture, Kansas City, Kan., was awarded $5,000 for the Juniper Gardens Training Farm and Farm Business Development Program, which helps low-income individuals start their own farms by providing intensive training in farm and business skills.
Many organizations supported by Farm Aid grants are part of Farm Aid’s Farmer Resource Network, an evolution of Farm Aid’s farmer hotline that features an online tool to link family farmers with innovative ideas to help them meet the rising consumer demand for food from family farms. The Farmer Resource Network also offers tools to help put new farmers on the land. To learn more about the Farmer Resource Network, visit http://www.farmaid.org/ideas.
Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual concert to raise funds to support Farm Aid’s work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farmed food. Since 1985, Farm Aid has raised more than $36 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the current system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms, Horton said.
Paula Barr is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 172 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.