Family Farm Defenders (Kansas Chapter)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

4 to 5 pm CT Saturday, April 12, 2014, KKFI KC, John Peck, ED Family Farm Defenders Food Fight! Radio Interview

KKFI Kansas City Community Radio Program
John Peck, ED, Family Farm Defenders,
4 to 5 pm CT Saturday, April 12, 2014
Kansas City, Missouri, KKFI KC Community Radio, 90.1 FM,

On air studio call-in number 816 931 5534816 931 5534
John Peck

Food Fight! All Lives Matter! Radio Program is a project of KC Urban Connections Radio Program and Local to Global Advocates for Justice and its local KC project, KC Food Justice. It’s host is Donna Morrow Wolfe and co host is Maria Whittaker.
John Peck, ED, Family Farm Defenders, (FFD) will discuss why founder John Kinsman and other dairy farmers in Wisconsin organized themselves to take action to reform our food and agriculture systems, policies and practices.  ED Peck will also discuss FFD’s accomplishments, their current work and vision for our food and agriculture systems, practices and policies as well as the obstacles to FFD’s goals and strategies for overcoming them.  For more information about FFD, visit (Local to Global Advocates for Food Justice (LGAFJ) and its local KC org, KC Food Justice, is dba as the local Kansas and Missouri Chapters of Family Farm Defenders.)
John E. Peck grew up on a 260 acre farm in central Minnesota, has a B.A. in Economics from Reed College and a PhD in Land Resources from UW-Madison. He has been the Executive Director of Family Farm Defenders for the last decade, and is also a part-time instructor of Economics and Environmental Studies at Madison Area Technical College (MATC).  His graduate research focused on community-based management of common property resources in Zimbabwe.   He attended the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and participated in global justice events surrounding the WTO meeting Seattle in 1999, as well as FTAA meetings in Quebec in 2001 and Miami in 2003.  He has been part of solidarity delegations to Ainaro, East Timor in 2005 and Oaxaca, Mexico 2008, and also participated in the 2007 Nyeleni Food Sovereignty Conference in Selengue, Mali, the Fifth Conference of La Via Campesina in Maputo, Mozambique in 2008, as well as the 2009 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Family Farm Defenders (FFD) incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1994 and was granted permanent 501(c)(3) status by the IRS in 1999. FFD began as an outgrowth of two national grass-roots campaigns: demanding a national referendum to end the mandatory check-off on raw milk that funds the lobby and propaganda efforts of the corporate dairy industry; and to defend consumer “right to know” in response to the stealth introduction of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) into the nation’s milk supply.
FFD's mission is to create a farmer-controlled and consumer-oriented food and fiber system, based upon democratically controlled institutions that empower farmers to speak for and respect themselves in their quest for social and economic justice. To this end, FFD supports sustainable agriculture, farm worker rights, animal welfare, consumer safety, fair trade, and food sovereignty.  FFD has also worked to create opportunities for farmers to join together in new cooperative marketing endeavors and to bridge the socioeconomic gap that often exists between rural and urban communities.
What is a Family Farmer? (discussion from
Being Family Farm Defenders, this question is posed quite often to FFD. Worse yet, while small-scale agricultural enterprises across the U.S. are disappearing in record numbers, the industrial agribusiness operations that replace them often try to masquerade as “family farms” to evade regulatory scrutiny and garner public sympathy. For instance, Cargill could conceivably identify itself as a “family farm” since it is a private entity largely controlled by the MacMillan family.
While many government agencies have their own definition of “family farm” that is often tied to size or income for the purpose of distributing subsidies or qualifying for programs, a better definition would encompass who does the bulk of the work and who makes farming decisions. While large-scale livestock confinement operations (aka “factory farms”) may be managed by a family, they are often owned by outside investors, dependent upon a large pool of non-unionized often immigrant farm workers, and have their decisions and practices dictated by contracts and agreements with much more powerful agribusiness corporations. For instance, the technology use agreements (TUAs) that Monsanto requires any user of its patented Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to sign basically shifts all product liability to the farmer and takes away their privacy rights. Similarly, the supplier contract for Tyson requires farmers to use sub-therapeutic antibiotics in their feedstock and forbids them from collectively organizing with other poultry growers.

 John Kinsman, former President and founder FFD

 We would also like to honor Farmer John Kinsman, Former President and founder of Family Farm Defenders, with this show. He passed away January 20th of this year, 2014, on his family farm near Lime Ridge, Wisconsin. He was 87. Below please see a Memorial written to honor him by the Cornucopia Institute.

I met John in 2010 in Milwaukee at my first Farm Aid Concert, when he was about 84 and marveled at how active, sharp  and fit he was (for any age, but especially 84), travelling and advocating all over the world for food sovereignty. Family Farm Defenders was one of the first food movement groups I had the privilege to meet and work with. They were wonderful--cooperative, supportive and inclusive from the gitgo.

I remember seeing them don their cow costumes to protest the eve before Farm Aid 2010, and I remember thinking, “Oh no, I am not going to do that; that is too goofy “(and me the queen of goofiness.) (Well now I know “a little more” and I understand how important we need real grassroots folks, including farmers with cow costumes, out there advocating for ourselves. I am also learning we need to find a way to make this fun and to preserve our sanity so bring on the cow costume or whatever your medium is.)

I am grateful to Family Farm Defenders for being a progressive voice for family and small farmers in the US and for supporting KC Food Justice and its parent organization, Local to Global Advocates for Justice.  

While KC Food Justice is primarily a group of consumers rather than producers, we believe family and small farmers like Family Farm Defenders who see the big picture of our common good are critical to building the power and providing the leadership we need to transform our food and agriculture systems so that they work for all: consumers, farmers, farmworkers and food workers. Family famers like FFD are critical to food, agriculture and socioeconomic systems that are truly healthy, fair, just and sustainable and which provide livelihoods with dignity for family and small farmers, farm workers, and food workers alike.

Here is the Cornucopia Memorial tribute to Organic Dairy Farmer and Lifelong social-Justice Activist John Kinsman.

 Organic dairy farmer and lifelong social-justice activist John Kinsman passed away January 20 on his family farm near Lime Ridge, Wisconsin. He was 87. A founder and the longtime president of Family Farm Defenders, John touched the lives of thousands of people, worldwide, for decades as a grassroots proponent of organic sustainable agriculture and a globetrotting advocate of food sovereignty.

An organic farmer and forester, John helped found Family Farm Defenders (FFD) in 1994 to promote sustainable agriculture, fair trade, workers rights, animal welfare, consumer safety, environmental stewardship and, above all, food sovereignty. Through FFD, John worked to relocalize food/farm economies and forge new economic relationships between consumers and farmers.

He was also the secretary of the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) and served on the Midwest Organic Dairy Producers Alliance board of directors. John was also one of the leading voices in the U.S. challenging GMOs and an outspoken critic of corporate globalization. As one of the farmer leaders involved in Via Campesina, the largest umbrella organization for farmers, fishers, foresters, hunters, gatherers, and indigenous peoples in the world, John traveled extensively around the world to share the message of food sovereignty.

John Glenn Kinsman is survived by his wife of 64 years, Jean, their 10 children, and 38 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren. Details about the January 24 wake and January 25 funeral can be found at

Family Farm Defenders will share some of John’s legacy at the 3rd Annual John Kinsman Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Prize Award Dinner to be held March 15 at University of Wisconsin, Baraboo, with Raj Patel as the keynote speaker. Watch for details.

“John was a good friend and trusted advisor and will be dearly missed,” said Cornucopia’s Mark Kastel. For those who wish to learn more about the inspirational life of John Kinsman, below are some links to recent profiles and interviews:

2012 Interview with John Kinsman conducted by Daniel Tucker at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum in Chicago:

2012 Profile of John Kinsman by Marc Eisen for Progressive Magazine:

2012 Booklet titled “John Kinsman: Activist Farmer” compiled by Daniel Tucker:

2102 Interview with John Kinsman by In Motion Magazine:

2011 Interview with John Kinsman conducted by Bekah Wilce of PR Watch :

Another 2011 Interview conducted by Daniel Tucker with John Kinsman at his farm near Lime Ridge, WI:

No comments:

Post a Comment