Thanksgiving is not only a time to celebrate a successful growing season and a bountiful harvest. 

This next week we celebrate Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays of the year.  It has been called different names over the centuries and in different cultures but in almost all civilizations and societies there has been some type of harvest festival or holiday of Thanksgiving.  Our American holiday began with the Pilgrims celebrating the fall harvest as they prepared for another long, cold winter.  In that era it was often a matter of life and death based on how much crop was produced in the growing season that you could save and store to make it through the dreary and harsh winter months when you were limited to hunting and fishing for most of your food for survival.  We are so very blessed that our American farmers are so productive and that just a few percent of our population is now required to produce the food for all of us, plus many more folks around the world.  The efficiency of the modern farmers, whether it is your local growers at the Farmers Market or several thousand acre wheat or corn farmers, frees you from the daily pressure of producing food each and every day to ensure the survival of your family.  We are blessed to have access to the world’s best selection of fresh food, canned food, frozen foods and even dried and prepared foods.  You can visit your local grocery store or farmers market and select fresh vegetables, berries, fruits, nuts, a wide selection of beef, pork, chicken, lamb and fish and more kinds of grains, cereals and prepared or processed foods than we can even sample.  The amazing progress in farm equipment, crop breeding and even types of crops has given us more food choices than at any time in history.  You can choose to eat locally grown foods, you can choose to sample foods from around the world including historical or exotic foods, you can choose to eat organically grown foods or you can eat to fit a multitude of diet options or restrictions.

The advances in American farming, refrigeration, canning & freezing have freed you up from the pressure of growing your own food so you can pursue the type of job that utilizes your best talents and abilities and gives you the most personal satisfaction.  Farmers and our amazing food distribution systems are what allow you to be an artist, a doctor, a salesman, an accountant, a teacher, a driver, a lawyer, a warehouse worker, an office worker or whatever career you are pursing.

Food production and our food choices have become so plentiful and available that they have become controversial to some folks.  I guarantee you food production techniques are not controversial when you are struggling to grow food, hunt or find enough food to feed your family each day.  It is only because of the amazing success of American farmers that we argue about breeding practices and techniques like what kind of fertilizer or herbicides are used in producing those crops instead of the base worry of having food to eat.  We are blessed to have lots of different crop production systems and they have different costs of production so you can decide if you want to pay extra for production like organically grown vegetables or meats.  An organic vegetable grower often gets about a third less harvest so they need to charge more to survive and continue their business as compared to a farmer that uses modern insecticides and fungicides to control their pest and disease problems.  Both produce good quality nutritious food so you have to decide which is right for you and your budget.

Thanksgiving is not only a time to celebrate a successful growing season and a bountiful harvest.  It is a great time to celebrate with family and count the many blessings of family, friends, and health as well as access to a warm, safe home, the kindness of neighbors, the joy of children and the wisdom of our seniors.  We hope that you will be able to spend time this next week to celebrate the harvest of food and beauty from your yard and garden and the warmth and love of your spouse, family and friends.  Have a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving.

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