Diversified crops at Full Belly Farm. Photo by: Paul Kirchner Studios.

Honoring Kathy Ozer, Family Farm Advocate

Headshot of Nina Ichikawa, Policy Director at BFIJanuary 26, 2017

By Nina F. Ichikawa, BFI Policy Director

Kathy Ozer was born August 4, 1958, and taken from us way too early. We have lost a lion of the food and farming movement. In the more than quarter-century she led the National Family Farm Coalition, as well as co-founding or guiding other organizations, she laid the groundwork for countless others to work to build an agricultural system that works for all. Years before “intersectionality” become common parlance, she understood and made central to her organization the principle that saving family farms is inextricably linked to economic, racial, gender, and every other form of justice. She was a battle-hardened Farm Bill veteran, yet never lost her optimism. She had an awe for the wisdom of farmers, yet never let up on her insistence that they gain true political power. She could always spare a deep belly laugh, a good hug, and welcoming words to young people and those new to the movement. She organized people with love. How did she maintain such a balance? I have no idea. But I will miss her terribly and hope her ideas and even more, her way of living, will live on in all of us.


An image of Kathy Ozer from farmbillfairness.org
An image of Kathy Ozer from farmbillfairness.org

Read Kathy’s obituary in the Washington Post.


From NFFC’s executive committee and staff:

Kathy Ozer ¡PRESENTE!

“For those of you who do not already know, 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…

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 here, 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 no longer with us physically, 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.