Ronnie Cummins (1946-2023), was a leading figure in the global organic regenerative food and farming movement. His enthusiastic organizing skills were infused with passion, warmth, courage and tenacity. He was tireless in his work for justice and peace.
Ronnie called three places home. He developed deep roots in Finland, Minnesota; San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. His work brought him around the world, where he formed close relationships with activists working on organic regenerative food, farming, climate and health freedom issues.
He never gave up his passion for investigating the dangers of industrial food systems, genetic engineering and synthetic food technologies. He fought against the greed of the pharmaceutical, chemical and pesticide industries; he was also earnest and optimistic in the search for climate solutions. Ronnie was the co-founder and international director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and its international affiliates, Regeneration International (RI) and Vía Orgánica.
He had a passion for educating young people, and headed up the creation of Vía Orgánica, an agroecology farm school and research center in Central Mexico. The last few years he dedicated endless time, energy and research to Vía Orgánica and Regeneration International’s Billion Agave Project; he firmly believed this could be game-changing as a way to regenerate the land, make a major impact on carbon sequestration AND the climate crisis, and to ease rural poverty and heartbreaking forced migration of so many small farmers around the world.
Ronnie tragically passed away April 26, 2023. He grew up in “Cancer Alley,” but Ronnie thought he had a fair chance of dodging the cancer bullet with the good medicine of healthy organic food, laughter, connection to nature, and time with family, friends and the inspiration he got from working with those who shared his passion for making the world a better place. Ronnie lost his life to recently diagnosed bone and lymph cancer after dedicating so much of his life’s work to exposing the connections of disease and the toxins in our environment.
We will continue this fight in his honor. Ronnie wrote countless hard-hitting essays relating to the organizations’ campaigns, working to inspire action with information. He edited OCA’s widely distributed newsletter Organic Bytes and was an engaging public speaker. Ronnie was the author of a series of children’s books called “Children of the World,” (Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Cuba) as well as the book “Genetically Engineered Food: A Self-Defense Guide for Consumers.” His other books included “Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food, and a Green New Deal.” Ronnie’s latest book was “The Truth About COVID-19,” co-authored with Dr. Joseph Mercola, which were both published by Chelsea Green. Most recently, he was in the process of writing a new book called “Agave Power.”
Ronnie especially loved daily hikes, swimming in the icy tannin rivers on the North Shore that flow into Lake Superior, singing, playing guitar, researching and writing. He enjoyed gatherings with home cooked food in the company of family, friends and activists, always forthcoming with: “This is the best meal I’ve ever had.” Ronnie has touched the hearts of so many throughout his life’s journey. He will be forever missed, but his lifetime of passionate work leaves a legacy for all of us to carry on.
Ronnie has survived by the love of his life, Rose Welch, and son, Adrian Cummins Welch, as well as many people he cherished, siblings, in-laws, many nieces and nephews, close friends and work family.
A Celebration of Life gathering will be held at the Vía Orgánica Ranch outside of San Miguel de Allende Mexico, Sunday May 7, (streamed live here at 3 p.m. CT, 2 p.m., Mexico.) There will also be gatherings in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 14, and in Finland, Minnesota, at the OCA AgroEcology Center on May 21. Memorial donations may be sent to Organic Consumers Association (OCA) or Regeneration International.
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Read Ronnie’s obituary and tributes from around the world in the Minneapolis Star Tribune