Remembering a Family Farm Defender and Champion -- John Kinsman, Presente!
By Carol Schachet
January 21st, 2014
John Kinsman was far more than a Wisconsin dairy farmer, though he proudly was that. He was a pioneer of organic and sustainable farming in the United States and a tireless advocate for global food sovereignty. John Kinsman died yesterday, on Martin Luther King Day, after a long life of struggle, humor and compassion.
A fourth generation farmer, John founded Family Farm Defenders to empower farmers to speak for and respect themselves in their quest for social, economic and racial justice. A 2012 profile in The Progressive, describes some of his accomplishments:
That was just one way he stood in solidarity with the global movement of small farmers, and also pointed out the distinction between corporate-driven agriculture and family farmers. Family Farm Defenders is a member of the National Family Farm Coalition and through it the Via Campesina, the international movement of peasants and farm workers.
Another of our favorite memories of John is wearing a black-and-white cow suit, protesting dairy prices in front of the Commodities market in Chicago, along with his colleague John Peck and others. In a post on the Family Farm Defenders website, Peck remembers his friend’s impact: “John has literally touched the lives of thousands of people as a grassroots pioneer of organic sustainable agriculture and globe-trotting advocate of food sovereignty for decades.”
John Kinsman, Presente!
Photo by Nic Paget-Clarke