On Behalf of Farm Aid and Armenia Tree Project
Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa)
Mr. President, I have the honor of presenting Carolyn Mugar, executive director of Farm Aid and founder of the Armenia Tree Project. She is accepting on behalf of these organizations, which foster a sound environment, nurture sustainable agriculture and connect people to the land.
In 1985, a group of well-known musicians led by Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young performed a concert to draw attention to the plight of struggling family farms in the United States. Since that inaugural concert, Farm Aid has raised $40 million to help preserve farms and promote healthy food production, a laudable accomplishment at a time when 18 million households suffer from food insecurity and industrial farming has supplanted many family farms.
Farm Aid keeps family farmers on the land to guarantee an agricultural system that ensures farmers a fair living, strengthens our communities, protects our natural resources and delivers good food for all. The organization also links farmers to consumers by growing and strengthening local and regional markets, and by working to get family-farm food into urban neighborhoods, grocery stores, restaurants, schools and other public institutions.
Halfway across the world, the Armenia Tree Project strives to reverse deforestation after years of neglect and abuse have threatened the country’s ecological balance. Over the course of nearly two decades, more than four million trees have been planted, providing fruit, creating opportunities for economic growth and replenishing the still-fragile ecosystem in more than 350 communities.
In addition to preserving thousands of acres, The Armenia Tree Project’s mission involves revitalizing urban and rural areas, reducing poverty, and engaging the public, particularly young people, to better understand and appreciate the value of a healthy and vital environment.
The good work of both Farm Aid and the Armenia Tree Project reminds us that the very best hope for a sustainable future lies in the earth beneath our feet.
Mr. President, on behalf of the Trustees, faculty, students and staff of Clark University, I request that the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, be conferred on Ms. Carolyn Mugar, on behalf of Farm Aid and Armenia Tree Project.