As November honors the bounty of the season with its own special holiday, I thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this column to thanking America’s family farmers for making that bountiful harvest possible in the first place. This month, instead of answering a question from a reader, I asked our dedicated Farm Aid staff a question of my own: Why are you thankful for family farmers?
Each reply I received was wonderfully heartfelt and inspired—pieces of which I am sharing below.
“I am thankful that family farmers are so skilled in managing the complexity of the family farm. I admire the variety of their skills, the dedication to daily tasks, the keen observation of the animals and the crops. I’m thankful that they have enough trust to put a seed in the ground, in spite of the awful risks of weather, pests, and bad prices.”
— Glenda Yoder, Associate Director
“I’m thankful for family farmers because of what they do and what they stand for. Through honest and hard work, they produce something vital to us all. Whether it’s eating the first fresh strawberries on the sunniest June day or relying on a soup cooked with love (from ingredients grown with care) on a dark and snowy January evening, we count on food in so many ways. Unfortunately, so much of our lives is driven by industrial artificiality—pushing buttons to shift “money” from place to place where nothing is really created. No one can say that about farmers; their hands are in the dirt every day growing food.”
— Matt Glidden, Web Marketing Manager
“Thanksgiving always reminds me of the importance of good food and good, smart farmers. I am blessed with several amazing cooks in my family who are always on the hunt for fresh, tasty produce. Each year, our Thanksgiving table is a veritable cornucopia of squashes, potatoes, cranberry dishes, brussel sprouts, parsnips, pies, turkey—you name it! I know this would be completely impossible without the hard work of family farmers who are committed to keeping our land and food healthy. It only renews my commitment to the mission of helping family farmers thrive and making sure more people know their value and can have access to their food.”
— Alicia Harvie, Program Manager
“I am thankful for family farmers’ determination, resilience, and courage in the face of very hard times, and for providing every morsel of food on my plate, every day of the year.”
— Joel Morton, Hotline and Resource Network Coordinator
“I am thankful for family farmers who make eating fresh, local food possible. It is one of my favorite pastimes.”
— Anna Miragliuolo, Member Services Specialist
“I grew up in a small town in CT and there were farmers all around us. We bought corn from the farm around the corner and picked raspberries and strawberries in the next town. I learned first hand how buying fresh, local family farmed products not only taste better but helped the community. I’m thankful that there are farmers near me now so I can help my children connect with the people who grow our food so they understand the importance of having good stewards of the land and so I can reap the bounty of their
— Wendy Matusovich, Resource Development Director
“I am thankful for family farmers for their determination to make it work. I am thankful for family farmers’ commitment to remaining independent, empowered and strong, while rolling with the punches that the seasons deliver.”
— Cornelia Hoskin, HOMEGROWN Shepherdess
“I am thankful for family farmers at Thanksgiving because the food they grow is fresh and nourishing. There is something very spiritual for me in cooking and sharing with loved ones that I cherish this time of year.”
— Kari Williams, Development Relations Manager
“I am thankful for family farmers because they care about more than getting rich. They care about the land, the food and me, the consumer.”
— Christina Petrucci, Farm Aid Intern
“I am thankful for our family farmers because I love to eat fresh locally grown food. When I stop in to see Mr. Scimone at his street side farm stand in Bedford, I love to buy his dirty freshly dug potatoes, fresh corn, tomatoes and his great collection of fresh picked apples. It makes me smile when I see the aged picture of the first graduating class of Bedford High School, 1958, which both he and my mother-in-law shared, framed on a shelf next to his antique cash register.”
— Joanna Dyment, Bookkeeper/Office Manager
“I’m thankful for the stories family farmers have to tell. Explanations of how they went from being a city-slicker to being a farmer, or how they’re both at the same time! Tales of abandoned lambs bottle-raised and saved. Information about how the food I get from family farmers was grown–with love and care. Histories about the great-grandparents who started the farm and passed it on down the line. Lineages of a certain kind of apple or chicken. Tips about how to cook things like garlic scapes and rutabagas and unfamiliar greens. Comedies about chasing the piglets who escaped their pasture and went tearing through the woods. Even the stories of the struggles of family farmers–with bad weather,bad luck, bad prices, but with their hope intact through it all. Food that comes with a story is the best sustenance of all.”
— Jennifer Fahy, Communications Director
This Thanksgiving, I hope you all will get a chance to take some time with family and friends to celebrate America’s family farmers and give thanks for the good food they bring to our tables during the holidays and throughout the year. Please join us in showing your gratitude for family farmers by leaving words of thanks in the comments below.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Farm Aid family to yours!
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