Submitted by: Organic Valley
Posted: Sep 06, 2007 – 12:30 AM EST
Sep. 06 /CSRwire/ - La Farge, WI - September 6, 2007 - Organic Valley farmers from across the United States will be in New York City to support Farm Aid 2007: A HOMEGROWN Festival on September 9. Among this group will be Organic Valley's Gen-O Farmers, a new and young generation of organic farmers taking the lead to ensure the future of family farming while producing high quality organic food.
Farm Aid, which will be making its debut in New York, will feature headliners Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds and The Allman Brothers. Organizers plan to serve 100 percent local, organic, humanely-raised and family-farmed food at the festival - a first for a major concert event. Organic Valley farmers, including 16 Gen-O Farmers, will be there to show their support through in-person appearances, product donation, and education about organic agriculture and Organic Valley's mission to save America's family farms.
"For 22 years, Farm Aid has provided a crucial point of unity between farmers, consumers, activists and industry. We are grateful for their inspiration and leadership," said George Siemon, CEO and a founding farmer of Organic Valley, a farmer-owned cooperative representing organic family farmers across America. "Our cooperative formed almost 20 years ago from the same populist roots as Farm Aid, with a handful of farmers seeking to continue to farm in the face of a changing economy. Many doubted a model like ours was possible, but we continue to prove that it works."
This year's sponsorship, Organic Valley's sixth, will focus on helping consumers learn more about the benefits of organic farming and the cooperative business model. Visitors to the Organic Valley tent will have an opportunity to meet with farmers and hear first hand about their lives and their ideas for the future of organic. In addition, samples of Organic Valley milk products and cheeses will be available for tasting.
"Farm Aid works throughout the year to promote food from family farms and to strengthen family farm agriculture. Our capacity for service is greatly enhanced thanks to support from Organic Valley Family of Farms," said Farm Aid's executive director, Carolyn Mugar.
Organic Valley Family of Farms: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation's leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,100 farmers in 29 states and one Canadian province, and achieved $334 million in 2006 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces more than 200 organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie Family of Farms label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.com and the cooperative's farmers' website, www.farmers.coop
Among the Organic Valley farmers available for Interview are:
Travis Forgues, 34, of Alburg Springs, Vermont, a Gen-O farmer who has brought a new spirit of optimism to despairing Vermont dairy farmers and their families. As a result of his work, 22 farm families whose land might otherwise have been cut up for house lots, are now living and working on more than six thousand acres, raising 1,349 cows, producing nearly six thousand gallons of milk daily and getting paid nearly double the conventional price.
The Knapp Family (Paul, Maureen and children Blaise 16 yr. and Evan 12 yr., both Gen-O farmers) from the Syracuse, NY area, organically steward 10 acres of U-Pick strawberries, a kitchen garden, 80 acres of pastures, 80 organic milking Holsteins, 150 hens, turkeys, broilers, and pigs, with the help of their three children. "If I'd use one word to describe what we're doing, it would be prayer,'" Maureen says. "It's quite simply the power of positive thinking. If you have a picture of something good in your mind, you'll put energies forth to make that happen."
The Meyer Family (Gen-O Farmers Taylor and Nick) of Hardwick, Vermont, an award winning dairy farm with three generations working side-by-side. When the Meyer brothers decided to take over the family business, they asked community members, extended family and friends for donations to help them make the transition to organic, and to build their dream barn and milking parlor. In return, they promised that they would steward their 400 acres organically, nurturing the precious soil and water. They also promised that their neighbors would continue to see 110 cows grazing contently on rolling pastures, instead of a groundbreaking for one more housing development. The fundraising effort worked. "The response was awesome. We even named milk stalls after the most generous folks." Nick points out the little blue nameplates on each stall.
Linda and Andy Styger, Gen-O Farmers of Chehalis River Valley in Washington State, were hobby farmers for years before deciding to "go all the way" and become full-time dairy farmers. Today they raise a 70-cow herd that grazes on natural, nutrient-rich grasses. Their operation became certified organic—and a member of the Organic Valley Family of Farms-in 2004.
NOTE TO MEDIA: For interviews with organic farmers and/or photos of farmers at the event, please contact Andrea Disario, firstname.lastname@example.org tel. 212-369-1031 or 917-751-7877.
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For more from this organization:Organic Valley