The farm and food movement has lost a unique and inspirational leader with the passing of Kathy Ozer, the executive director of the National Family Farm Coalition. All of us at Farm Aid feel blessed to have worked with Kathy—some of us for more than 20 years. Kathy enriched our lives personally, with her boundless energy, optimism, sense of humor and never ending care and respect for all she met.
Always focused on family farmers, she expanded the movement for farmer justice to include the rights of farmworkers, the livelihoods of fisher-men and -women, and the broader fight for racial and social justice. You could ask Kathy about any specific policy detail and she could tell you everything you’d need to know. But what set Kathy apart was her deep understanding of how policy could affect people individually, and she could introduce you to each of those people to understand for yourself.
Kathy fought for policy change because she fought for people, and she did everything in her capacity to help them—whether through her work, or by offering a guest bedroom or finding cheap flights for farmers so that they could represent themselves in the halls of government. Kathy served as a mentor to so many young people in the movement. The younger Farm Aid staff members spoke of her wide wing under which she took many of us.
At Farm Aid, we will carry forward the work to which Kathy committed her life. If we can do so with just a portion of her fortitude, warmth and positivity, we will succeed.Read Kathy's obituary in the Washington Post