Big Apple to host Farm Aid concert


NEW YORK -- New York will play host to Farm Aid, a benefit concert to help family farms, singer Willie Nelson announced Monday.

"Farm Aid 2007: A Homegrown Festival" will be held on Randall's Island in the East River between Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens on Sept. 9 and will feature Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp and Neil Young.

"Farm Aid is coming to New York because your enthusiasm for family farm food is keeping family farmers on the land," Nelson told reporters.

Since it was first organized in 1985 Farm Aid has raised over $30 million to support local organizations working to strengthen family farms, organizers said.

It has been held in cities such as Lincoln, Nebraska, and Seattle but never before in New York.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined Mellencamp and Nelson in making the announcement. He also unveiled a plan to increase the city's reliance on soybean and corn-based biofuel, which he said will help farmers.

Starting next summer, a percentage of the city's heating oil purchases will contain biofuel, reaching 20% by 2012.