“?This is something I believe in,?” singer/songwriter 2012 concert in Hersey, PA. Ells described how, years ago, he saw ?horrific? conditions at corporate factory farms and made a commitment to Chipotle’?s goal of ?food with integrity? by seeking sustainably raised ingredients. Ells also thanked Nelson for his acoustic performance of Coldplay?’s “?The Scientist?” on Chipotle?’s 2011 animated video “?Back To The Start?,” which has been viewed on YouTube more than 7.2 million times.
Farm Aid executive director Carolyn Mugar presented Ells with a tool to symbolize his efforts to carve a path toward a more sustainable food supply, a Courage Axe from New York’?s Best Made Co.
Mugar recalled the early days of the organization, when it was run out of her kitchen. Remarking on the evening’?s turnout of supporters, Mugar quoted Nelson as saying: “?People want to be asked to help, but they need to know their money is going to the right place.? Farm Aid?’s supporters saw ?enormous potential to change our food system and change our world,?” she said.
Lee was accompanied to the event by co-managers Kevin Morris and Perry Greenfield of Red Light Management. They also had been with Lee when the singer/songwriter came to the Billboard Touring Conference in 2011 to talk about his career and songwriting.
For the Farm Aid gathering, the plaid-shirted Lee played solo in a concise set that included two particularly appropriate covers.
He talked about joining the “Midnight Ramble” events at Levon Helm?s barn in Woodstock, New York before The Band?’s drummer passed away last April. Then he performed Helm?s darkly tinged farmer?s lament ?Growing Trade.? And with his soulful voice soaring, Lee closed his set with Sam Cooke?’s “?A Change Is Gonna Come.?”
Reflecting afterward on Farm Aid?’s mission, Lee declared: “?If we lose the connection to the family farm, we lose something really important.?”