Letters from the past help clarify future

David Ostendorf

The office phone rang Monday and a familiar name from long ago scrolled across the caller-ID display: David Ostendorf.

It can’t be the same guy, I thought. But it really was the pastor, activist and community organizer who led PrairieFire Rural Action during the Farm Crisis in the 1980s. PrairieFire was founded in 1985 in Des Moines, Iowa, to advocate for farm families who often had nowhere else to turn. Its aim was to keep families on their farms by keeping rural communities informed about current issues and educating them about their legal and political rights. The organization was dissolved in 1999 and merged with the Iowa Farmers Union Education Foundation.

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