For those of us here at Food & Water Watch, the arctic chill that has gripped much of the nation this week brought with it the sad news of the passing of a beloved colleague, friend, and member of our family. It is with a heavy heart that we share with you that Senior Food & Water Watch Representative Brother Dave Andrews passed away on Monday, January 5. Brother Dave was an integral part of the mission here at Food & Water Watch, having devoted much of his life’s work to ensuring that communities both at home and overseas had access to healthy food and safe, clean, affordable water. In addition to being a remarkable ambassador for the critical issues that affect billions of people around the world, he was a gentle friend and mentor to many here among our staff.
While Brother Dave retired from Food & Water Watch last August, he was still very much in touch with many of us here and we will forever be grateful for his service and friendship. We thought the best thing to do would be to reach out to some of his colleagues on the food team who worked closely with Brother Dave throughout his time with us. We asked them to share a few thoughts about Brother Dave so that you, our readers and supporters, can get just a small idea about how important he was to us and to the goals of our organization. The quotes are followed by links to some interviews and articles Brother Dave wrote that might give you an idea of just how special he was. We now say goodbye to our friend who we will miss greatly.
“I first met Brother Dave in January 2003 at a legislative briefing that that the National Catholic Rural Life Conference held in Washington, DC. Brother Dave explained the NCRLC campaign entitled, “Eating is a Moral Act.” There were three facets to the campaign: “the Eaters Bill of Rights”; the “Members’ Creed”; the “Web of Life is One.” The campaign was designed to educate us that while we have the right to safe and nutritious food, we also need to respect how that food was produced and make sure that there was justice for the farmers and the workers in the food production system. In addition, we needed to ensure that we were we respectful stewards of the land and that animal welfare was a moral concern. His talk moved me and we became instant friends. I was so honored that he eventually joined our staff at Food & Water Watch. He was a great ambassador for our organization in the international work he did for us. I will miss him very much.” – Tony Corbo, Food Team Lobbyist
I first met Brother Dave in the late 1990’s when he was the Executive Director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference in Des Moines Iowa and I knew immediately that he was an extraordinary person. He was someone who was fierce in fighting for social and environmental justice but gentle in how he dealt with people. I next had the opportunity to work with him sometime in the early 2000’s when he was running the NCRLC campaign, “Eating is a Moral Act,” an effort that really put food and farming related issues on the map for many faith based groups. We were so thrilled when Dave said that he was interested in moving back to Washington and working at Food & Water Watch because he was an amazing networker, who knew so many people from every kind of organization and walk of life. One of his great legacies was the role he played in helping to promote the United Nations resolution on the Human Right to Water. It should have been no surprise to us that Dave, who literally knew so many people, was friends with General Assembly President, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann. Dave set the standard for the kind of ethics we should all strive for and he will be sorely missed. –Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director
I can’t remember the first time I met Brother Dave – I feel like I’ve known him for as long as I’ve worked on food issues. But even after all those years, he could still surprise me with a tale from his years as a teacher or advocate, or with a story about how he met one of his thousands of friends. And he really did have thousands. Everywhere I go, when I say I work for Food & Water Watch, invariably someone asks if I know Brother Dave. He made such a lasting impression on people because he was able to eloquently connect the fight for a fair food system to our basic human values and because he was able to connect with people from all walks of life, from all over the world. He was one of a kind. – Patty Lovera, Food Team Director
“Brother Dave mentored many people I consider mentors, and he did so much to get different organizations in the food movement to speak the common language of food systems and food justice, where it all intersects. I feel really fortunate that he was here at Food & Water Watch when I got here. Brother Dave somehow managed to work on tough, painful, systemic issues for decades and yet remained kind and patient with everyone.” – Sarah Borron, Food Team Researcher
“Through my years of activism, I have been privileged to meet a number of amazing people who became friends and mentors. Many colleagues have taken time they didn’t have to try to teach me to be a better activist and, more important, a better person. But Brother Dave was different. His activism on behalf of the hungry and needy worldwide was motivated first and foremost by his belief in God and in the transformative potential of humans living in God’s world. We spoke of it more than once, and I always came away with a deeper appreciation of humanity, of our ability to be part of the problem, but also to be the greatest part of the solution. The world has lost a great activist, a man admired and respected in venues from local groups to the UN. I have lost merely a friend.” – Ron Zucker, Common Resources Researcher