Kathy Ozer was a good personal friend of mine, and a colleague I highly respected, over the last quarter decade.  I often told her she was “one of my heroes” and I meant it.  I learned a lot from her over the years.

I met Kathy when I worked as a policy analyst and lobbyist for the Farmers Union, fighting Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH).  She had been an important ally ever since.

Since Cornucopia does not maintain offices in Washington, DC, Kathy and her staff at the National Family Farm Coalition offered us a base of operation, and sometimes literally a home away from home (I stayed with Kathy and her husband David at their apartment).

Last time I spoke to Kathy, she was still doing fine, after all her treatments were completed this past fall.  I am deeply saddened by her passing.  She was someone who truly cared, rolled up her sleeves, and worked hard to defend family-scale farmers in their uphill fight for fair treatment in Washington.  Blessed be her memory.

Her colleagues wrote the tribute below, and there is a link for an opportunity to make a donation to NFFC in her memory as well as information on a February 11 gathering to celebrate her life. Her obituary in the Washington Post highlights her commitment to farmers and sustainable agriculture.

Mark Kastel

Kathy Ozer, ¡Presente!
National Family Farm Coalition

We are deeply saddened to report the passing of our beloved, courageous and steadfast leader and friend, Kathy Ozer. Her indefatigable optimism and resolve eventually were not enough to overcome her cancer, and she died peacefully on Sunday, January 22, 2017.

In the words of our friend and ally, Doug Gurian-Sherman, “Her contributions, her dedication to small farms and people of color, her kindness, and her incredible knowledge and wisdom will be greatly missed by all of us who knew her, and those that did not.”

She was a beacon of light and a rock of determination. Although we can never fill her shoes, we will honor her many years of service to bettering this world – especially for all the people who nurture and support us through good food – by staying in the fight. We hope you are inspired to do the same.

Even though Kathy’s not with us physically any longer, we know she’s with us in spirit and that her commitment to NFFC’s mission lives on. Members of NFFC’s executive committee are working on plans to make sure NFFC continues to do the work that Kathy so fearlessly led through the years. Anyone interested in supporting the future of Kathy’s work may make a donation to NFFC at https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/kathyozerfund.

NFFC will also hold a celebration of Kathy’s life on February 11th from 3 to 6PM in the Robert L. Smith Meeting Room at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, where her family, friends, and colleagues will honor Kathy and her tremendous legacy. The gathering will loosely follow the Quaker meeting style; those in attendance will be welcome to speak and share their stories and appreciations of Kathy if they are so moved. There will be farm-fresh appetizers and drinks served following the service. Note: The entrance to underground parking is at the Wisconsin Ave/Rodman Street traffic light.
Please RSVP through this form.

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