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Remembering Brother Dave Andrews

By: Robert Martin

A great friend of the Center for a Livable Future and a persistent and effective advocate for sustainable agriculture has passed away. Brother David Andrews, former director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, member of the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, and a senior policy person at Food and Water Watch, passed away on January 5. In recent months, he had experienced some serious health issues but had been doing a bit better lately.

Brother Dave was a native of Mansfield, Massachusetts. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Stone Hill College, a Master of Arts degree in English from Rhode Island College, and his law degree from University of Loyola School of Law in New Orleans. Brother Dave served in several teaching capacities over the years and moved into educational administration.

Brother Dave was a member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross and worked for much of his life on issues of rural pastoral ministry, sustainable food production, animal welfare, and rural communities. As a member of the Pew Commission, he provided important knowledge and advice on how to improve the economic health of rural communities and family farms, especially on the vertical integration of the meat industry. He often said that “eating is an ethical act.” He was a favorite at the annual National Farmers Union convention and many state Farmers Union gatherings.

Brother Dave’s concern about food equity and food justice had an international component and he was a regular at the United Nations’ conference on food and animal production. He was very active in Heifer, International. He worked closely with Dr. Bob Lawrence on right to food issues in the United States, who said this about Brother Dave in an earlier post: “Brother Dave was a passionate advocate for justice for the small farmer, rural communities, and sustainable agriculture. His gentle spirit coupled with a dogged commitment to those who are true stewards of the land gave him an important voice in the discourse on food security.”

I will remember him for his thoughtful, and many times humorous, comments as we debated issues during the Pew Commission proceedings. He possessed a gentle heart and soul and a keen intellect. He will be missed.