As Farm Aid Lineup Is Announced, Performer Jack Johnson Sounds Off On Why It Matters

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The full artist lineup for the 2013 Farm Aid concert in Saratoga Springs, New York was revealed this week.

In addition to the four Farm Aid board members who perform every year (Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews), the September 21 concert will also feature performances from Kacey Musgraves, Jack Johnson, Amos Lee, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Bahamas, JD & The Straight Shot, Carlene Carter, and Pegi Young & The Survivors.

Jack Johnson spoke this week with about his support for Farm Aid.

“This will be my second time [at Farm Aid,” Johnson said. “Last year we had such a great experience doing it. It’s nice to take the spotlight that’s on you and shine it on something that’s more important than yourself.”

Johnson lives in Hawaii, where, as he explains, “my wife and I and a lot of friends have a foundation called the Kokua Hawaii Foundation. In Hawaii, 90 percent of our food is shipped in, so one of the things we try to work with kids is connecting them to their food at a really young age.”

“Once they have that connection,” he continues, “as they get older they start asking that question, ‘If we can grow so much food in Hawaii, why is so much of it shipped in?’ It gets into bigger issues about land use. There’s a lot of farm land that’s getting re-zoned and being used for redevelopment of hotels, houses and things. It’s basically taking places we can be growing food and slowly disappearing. It’s an important issue in Hawaii, dealing with the farming.”

So, he says, “being part of that national conversation with Farm Aid is nice for us to be included in that.”

Of course, he says, there’s a “selfish side” to participating. “I get to hang out with Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp, all those guys. That’s pretty amazing for me. It’s also nice to hang out with your heroes.”

A nonprofit organization founded in 1985, Farm Aid has raised more than $43 million over the years with the goal of promoting family farms.

Farm Aid takes place on Saturday, September 21 at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 28.

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