Sustainable Music and Live, Local Agriculture: a Direct Marketing Partnership

Presentation at Mid-Atlantic Direct Marketing Conference, York, PA

In this presentation, I performed on the folk harp four Irish tunes representing traditional livelihoods: The Jolly Plowman; The Merry Merchant; The Miners of Wicklow; and John the Blacksmith. They recall a time when marketing was mostly direct and local. The market was a place, not an abstraction. There, in addition to foodstuffs and merchandise, in a festive setting, you could find community neighbors, friends, family, and perhaps enemies too.

Live music, in such a tradition, is not mere entertainment. It serves to promote sociability, to soften differences, to enhance learning, to motivate collective action. In today's world, there is a need to restore a balance toward regional and local economies, to preserve competition in markets, and to protect livelihoods. Live local music can help to counter propaganda from mass media, agribusiness, and the "music industry" which serves mainly national and global integration and market concentration.

I see a great opportunity to involve local musicians as collaborators in local and sustainable community development. Locally, this happens in places like main street and the farmers' market. More broadly, it can happen at conferences like this one, with musicians acting as full participants and not mere entertainers.

Biography: John Lozier is Executive Director of Harping for Harmony Foundation; Adjunct Associate Professor of Agricultural Education at West Virginia University; and Research Assistant, WVU Extension Service. A musician from childhood, and a fiddler most of his adult life, John took up the folk harp after a visit to Venezuela in 1991. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, he taught for several years at WVU and at California University of Pennsylvania.

His life's mission is that of Harping for Harmony Foundation: to promote harmony and community,locally and globally, through harp music. In pursuit of this mission, he has traveled with his harp to El Salvador, Russia, Haiti, and Northern Ireland. He has offered musical-educational participation at various sustainable agriculture events including Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture; Association for Farming Systems Research/Extension; Michael Fields Agricultural Institute; Ohio Citizen Action; and Mountain State Organic Growers and Buyers Association.