Farm Aid, a nonprofit that seeks to keep family farmers on their land and runs an annual benefit concert that has raised more than $43 million since 1985, has launched #Road2FarmAid in advance of its upcoming 2013 concert.
#Road2FarmAid kicked off August 28 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. It invites fans to contribute photos and videos about their journey to Farm Aid 2013 or their visions for strong farm and food communities. At the same time, it also seeks to create a conversation about family farmers and the food they produce.
"We invite you, too, to tell us how you're getting ready for Farm Aid 2013, whether you're joining us in person at SPAC or watching and listening from home," Farm Aid writes in its blog. "We want to know what your road to Farm Aid looks like, and what you do in your daily life to support family farmers and good food."
In return, participants will be eligible to win two front row tickets to Farm Aid 2013.
Farm Aid Communications Director Jennifer Fahy says Farm Aid is seeding the promotion with its own stories of repeat visitors, including a producer who has toured with the Rolling Stones and Sting, as well as a group of Missouri farmers and a farmer co-op that raises pork in environmentally friendly ways.
"We're telling stories behind the scenes and asking everyone else to tell stories," she says.
So far, that also includes photos of gardens, farms, and Farm Aid tickets and t-shirts from over the years, she adds.
"It is a social campaign we dreamed up knowing that people come to Farm Aid from all over. We have regulars who come from Hawaii, Alaska, and Finland and farmers who come, too, from all across the country, so we wanted to give folks a chance to document what that road is whether they're coming from Saratoga or around the world," Fahy says. "We want to document that and also want to have an opportunity for people who aren't actually coming to the show to participate. We're saying [the road] doesn't end at the concert - it goes on and on. We're also asking people to document how they're supporting farmers in everyday life."
A page on the Farm Aid website aggregates submitted content.
Farm Aid will take place on September 21 at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. It will feature Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews with Tim Reynolds, Jack Johnson, Amos Lee, and Toad the Wet Sprocket, among others. The 2013 concert will have 25,000 attendees. It sold out after four days.
A webcast will air September 21 from 5 to 11 p.m. ET on farmaid.org. It will feature artist performances as well as behind-the-scenes content like: interviews with artists, farmers, and fans; demonstrations from the Homegrown Village, where concertgoers engage in interactive exhibits; an overview of Farm Aid's Homegrown Concessions, which brings family farm food to concertgoers; and a peek into the festival's production.
The Farm Aid 2013 concert will also be broadcast live on Willie Nelson's SiriusXM channel and through the SiriusXM Internet Radio app, as well as on siriusxm.com beginning at 2 p.m. ET on September 21. The live broadcast will also include behind-the-scenes coverage and backstage interviews.
What's more, for the first time, concertgoers will be able to access "the entire Farm Aid experience" with the official Farm Aid 2013 mobile app, which Farm Aid says will be available "soon" for iPhone and Android devices. Fans will be able to view the entire schedule and add artists, workshops, and artist briefings to make their own personalized schedules.
@FarmAid has 22,000 followers and 61,000 Facebook fans.
Farm Aid 2013 is sponsored by Chipotle Mexican Grill, Amy's Kitchen, Farm Family Insurance, Horizon Organic, American Harvest, Rudi's Bakery, Organic Valley, Applegate, Greener Fields Together, EcoScraps, PLOTSAVER, and Taste NY.
Nelson, Young, and Mellencamp organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985. Matthews joined the Farm Aid Board of Directors in 2001.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.