Five Questions with the National Family Farm Coalition’s Kathy Ozer

From by Kathy Ozer
Five Questions with the National Family Farm Coalition’s Kathy Ozer

Food Tank, in partnership with the George Washington University, is hosting the 1st Annual Food Tank Summit in Washington D.C. on January 21-22, 2015.

This two-day event will feature more than 75 different speakers from the food and agriculture field. Researchers, farmers, chefs, policy makers, government officials, and students will come together for panels on topics including food waste, urban agriculture, family farmers, farm workers, and more.

Food Tank recently had the opportunity to speak with Kathy Ozer, Executive Director of the National Family Farm Coalition, who will be speaking at the summit.

Food Tank (FT): What will your message be at the Food Tank Summit?

Kathy Ozer (KO): While our organization represents family farmers and fishers,​ their voices and personal experiences directly relate to the solutions that should be embraced by all in the food system, and they should be heard in meetings and events like this. Furthermore, we should hear from a variety of farmers - produce, commodity grains, dairy, and livestock as well as rural and urban.

(FT): How are you contributing to building a better food system?

(KO): Working to make sure that family farmers and fishers can not only survive but thrive in order to support themselves, their families and their communities.  We want to ensure that they are paid fairly for what they produce and catch,​ and that they ​have access to local and regional markets. In order to have a better food system that is accessible to all,​ it must be rooted in food sovereignty - the right of people to determine their own food supply - and that it does not pit farmers or their communities against each other.

(FT): What are the biggest obstacles or challenges you face in achieving your organization's goals?

(KO): Biggest obstacle is the excessive corporate influence in our nation's farm and trade policy, which exerts way too much control at the national and international level, leading to farmers, fishers, workers and consumers losing ground.

The second challenge is building hope among farmers and communities that the current system can change at a fundamental level to enable access to credit, ​land and/or water, ​and restoring fair pricing.

(FT): Who is your food hero and why?

(KO): My food heroes are the farmers and fishers who are the leaders in our member organizations; they fearlessly raise up their voices and get involved at the local, national and international levels.

(FT): In 140 characters or less what is the most important thing we can all do to help change the food system?

(KO): Promote Food Sovereignty: Value Farmer and Fisher voices, support solutions that correct economic conditions & broaden access to resources.

The event is SOLD OUT, but interested participants can sign up for the live-stream HERE. Or JOIN US for dinner and a reception to celebrate Food Tank's two-year anniversary on January 21st at 5:30pm EST. This event will also sell out fast, REGISTER NOW.