Organic Consumers Association

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Farm Aid 2012: Celebrating the Family Farm

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HERSHEY, Pa. - If you thought Farm Aid went the way of the Sony Walkman or the Grateful Dead, you weren't in Chocolate Town USA on Saturday, when 30,000 people turned HersheyPark Stadium into an organic oasis celebrating the family farm and the healthy food movement - not to mention homegrown American music.

Now in its 27th year, the all-star benefit concert, started by country-music legend Willie Nelson to help farmers survive the mid-1980s foreclosure crisis, is still going strong.

No longer a one-day event, Farm Aid has evolved into a national organization promoting the interests of family farmers.

The event returned to Pennsylvania, where agriculture remains the number-one industry, for only the second time in its run.

In 2002, Farm Aid was held in Burgettstown, west of Pittsburgh. This time the location was just a few miles from Lancaster County, which is about to make national history when it hits the milestone of 100,000 acres of preserved farmland. Lancaster boasts soil so rich it's known as the breadbasket of the East.

The first-ever Farm Aid concert drew 54 bands and 78,000 to Champaign, Ill.; Farm Aid is smaller now, with just under a dozen artists drawing 30,000.

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