FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 11, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND FARM AID ANNOUNCE FARM AID 2007: A HOMEGROWN FESTIVAL WILL BE HELD IN NEW YORK CITY
Concert to Feature Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews on September 9 on Randall's Island
Mayor Also Announces City Will Purchase Heating Oil Containing Biofuel, Which Will Support Family Farmers and Improve Air Quality
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Farm Aid founders Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp today announced that Farm Aid 2007: A HOMEGROWN Festival will take place on Randall's Island on September 9th. This is first time that the annual benefit concert is coming to New York to raise funds to support family farming and to promote food from family farms. The Mayor, Willie Nelson and John Mellecamp were joined by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, City Council Members Simcha Felder, James Vacca and David Yassky, State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Patrick Hooker, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Council on the Environment Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen, Farm Aid Executive Director Carolyn Mugar, Greenmarket farmer Zaid Kurdieh and several farmers from the Union Square Greenmarket at the announcement in Union Square Park.
The Mayor also announced that starting next summer, 30% of the City's heating oil purchases will be required to contain 5% biofuel, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and support family farmers because soybean and corn-based biofuel gives farmers another market for their products.
"The City strongly supports sustainable family farming through our Greenmarket program - which has nearly doubled its locations over the past five years - and it's an honor to be hosting Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Farm Aid for their 2007 concert," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We are also going to further support farmers through our plan to increase our use of biofuel, a greener, cleaning burning fuel that will help us achieve our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030. In addition to requiring the use of B5 biofuel blend by next year, I look forward to working with the City Council on more comprehensive biofuel legislation in the coming months."
"Farm Aid is coming to New York because your enthusiasm for family farm food is keeping family farmers on the land," said Farm Aid President Willie Nelson. "We are thankful to Mayor Bloomberg, the City Council, and the many activists here who are leading efforts so that every New Yorker has access to more food from family farms."
"Things change when we all take personal responsibility for our food and where it comes from," said Farm Aid board member John Mellencamp. "Farm Aid is a force for change that works hard to keep farmers on the land so that we'll have good food on our tables."
Farm Aid 2007
Since its beginning, Farm Aid has traveled the country, staging annual concerts and supporting local organizations working to strengthen family farms. Farm Aid builds the Good Food Movement by connecting people with family farmers who are increasing the supply of local, humanely raised, sustainable and organic food.
"Farm Aid presents this homegrown festival to welcome everyone to a day of music for family farmers and to promote fresh healthy food for all," said Executive Director Mugar. "Each Farm Aid artist comes to the show and donates their performances because they know that family farmers are America's best source for our food and renewable energy and the best protectors of our soil and water."
Tickets for Farm Aid 2007: A HOMEGROWN Festival will go on sale June 16 at 10 AM EDT and are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 212-307-7171, 631-888-9000, or 203-624-0033. For more information about Farm Aid 2007: A HOMEGROWN Festival, visit www.farmaid.org.
Farm Aid's mission is to build a vibrant family farm centered system of agriculture in America. 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 over $30 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.
The City's Greenmarket program supports roughly 180 local farmers at 47 locations throughout the City, a 67% increase in locations since 2001. More than 80% of Greenmarket farmers say they would go out of businesses if it weren't for Greenmarkets.
New Biofuel Initiative
Biofuel is significantly more environmentally friendly than standard fossil fuels, and the initiative will help the City achieve the goals laid out in PlaNYC in creating a greener, greater New York. B20 blends emit roughly 80% less soot than standard heating oil. Pure biofuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 75%. Biofuel can also be produced from used cooking oil from restaurants, which helps improve water quality because the oil is not dumped into the City's water system. The proposed biofuel requirements would have the effect of jump starting the biofuel market in New York, both increasing the amount of biofuel used by other consumers and creating jobs in the City. Once suppliers of fuel begin mixing biofuel into heating oil blends to meet City requirements, they will have greater incentive to market the product to other consumers.
Stu Loeser / Matthew Kelly (212) 788-2958
Brandi Dobbins (Farm Aid) (703) 307-8891
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