Three things cross my mind when I grocery shop for my family, especially leading up to Thanksgiving.
First – simply put – I’m thankful. I’m incredibly grateful that I’m able to fill a grocery cart and feed my children. They may claim to be hungry from time to time, but they’ve never known true hunger. I appreciate the blessing of a having a well-run grocery store in our small town with owners that care about our community.
Second, I consider the farms and the farmers that grow what lands on the grocery store shelf. My farm raises beef, corn, soybeans, wheat, and grain sorghum, so I can relate to the work involved behind the scenes for many foods that feature those ingredients. I’m not necessarily familiar with what’s required to bring fruits, vegetables, and other meats and fish to market – but I know that many people work very hard along the way to give us all an abundant selection.
Third, as a farmer, I think about the other shoppers. I think of all of the breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that will be prepared. Thanksgiving turkeys. First foods for a baby who is sure to make funny faces at new flavors. Complicated recipes for the inspired home chef. Convenient foods for folks on the go or in a phase of life where simple preparation is best. Birthday cakes. Christmas cookies and candy.
And I’m thankful for you – the consumer.
As a farmer, I’m thankful for how you transform what we grow into meals that bless you and those around you, and the time and heart you instill in the foods you prepare from your favorite recipes. For the healthy choices and the comfort foods. For the noisy conversations around the table at a holiday gathering, and the quiet solitude of an early morning cup of coffee.
Food connects all of us. I welcome the questions you have for us farmers about why and how we grow what we grow. I value the opportunities to explain the measures we take in caring for the environment while we grow crops and livestock. I respect when you recognize that many of the issues that face us in agriculture are complicated but always worth discussing because it affects all of us.
You’ll see many memes, slogans, and hashtags to “Thank a Farmer,” and I think we all should. This Thanksgiving, when you thank a farmer, know that the farmer is thankful too.