Remembering a family farm advocate Print
Thursday, Mar. 09, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

Many people in the Diocese of Madison remember the late John Kinsman, a farmer who was a member of Holy Family Parish in La Valle.

Kinsman was a strong advocate of family farming, going beyond his own farm to help other farmers in our state, nation, and the entire world.

Helping other farmers

He was the founder of the Family Farm Defenders (FFD) and a longtime president of the organization.

As just one example of the kind of things he did, we reported in the Catholic Herald in 2008 that Kinsman and FFD responded to a request from farmers in Louisiana who were hard hit by Hurricane Katrina and again by Hurricane Gustav.

These Louisiana farmers couldn’t afford to buy some badly needed tractors because of the losses they suffered in the storms. The FFD was able to send tractors and other equipment to the Louisiana farmers.

Award in his name

John Kinsman died in 2014. The FFD set up a Beginning Farmer Food Sovereignty Prize in his name and is presenting the sixth annual award on Saturday, March 11, during a dinner at 6 p.m. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Union South.

The recipient this year is Eduardo Rivera of Sin Fronteras Farm and Food. He leases land near Stillwater, Minn. He is a young immigrant from Zacatecas Mexico, whose dream is to one day own his own farm. He grows wholesale produce for sale to many Twin City co-ops and also offers a culturally appropriate CSA for the Latino community.

The award dinner is part of the Food Sovereignty Symposium and Festival to be held on March 10 to 12 in Madison. For a complete schedule of events, visit

Those who want to remember and continue John Kinsman’s legacy might consider attending these events, especially the dinner on March 11.