Growing hope for America



By Alexandria Sardam

Milwaukee is home to the Brewers, tasty beer, dairy farms and this past weekend, Farm Aid 25.

Artists, activists, fans and farmers trekked out to Miller Park for a night of entertainment and celebration of the traditional family farmer.

In the 1980s, America’s farmers found themselves struggling to keep their land because of the skyrocketing production costs, interest rates and plummeting land values. Factory farms posed another threat to family farmers.

Factory farms needed large amounts of cheap grains to feed their livestock so congress agreed and supplied them with it. This caused farm policies and support to decrease and deeper debt for the hardworking family farmer.

Factory Farms crush the growth of local prosperity and affect the health and welfare of those who value a wholesome, healthy lifestyle. Factory farms use hormones and antibiotics in livestock and discourage animal rights.

Willie Nelson was moved by the words of Bob Dylan at a Live Aid concert and yearned to do something to protect America’s heart and soul. He wanted to protect the farmers of America.

Farm Aid has been celebrated since 1985, marking 2010 the 25th anniversary of the benefit concert.

Farm Aid was created by Nelson and then supported by artists John Mellencamp, Neil Young and eventually Dave Matthews.

This year the Farm Aid stage welcomed Kenny Chesney, Band of Horses and Norah Jones, along with other artists and activists from across the country.

Matthews answers some questions that concern the effects of factory farms and the involvement the youth of America has on it, while offering his advice for change.

“I’m afraid that very often in our society now, that children reach for things that are produced by those who are solely driven by profit. So in this big industrial farm people are producing food for us with the solo goal of making money. And as much money as they can and cut as many corners as they can, “ Matthews said.

Matthews, a musician, family man and owner of the organic Maple Hill Farm has been a board member and performer of Farm Aid since 2001.

”I think that it’s so important that we reach an understanding as a society that if we want a healthy future and healthy planet and healthy children then we have to think globally but act locally,” Matthews said.

UK College of Agriculture Professor Larry Grabau said he believes students at UK can act locally by getting involved.

“The university has a number of clubs and programs involved in making the environment better,” Grabau said, “The Greenthumb, Grass Pride and Sustainable Agriculture Programs are all starts. The Sustainable Agriculture Program is the closest related to the issue.”