I grew up in a bedroom community of New York City, right near the beach. I understood that fish came from the ocean and we went clamming and crabbing. I was aware that there were duck and potato farms further east of me, and we made an annual trip to go strawberry picking, but otherwise I had no real sense of where my food came from.
Then I moved to a city and was even more removed from the source of my food. Food came from the supermarket and I never thought about it.
When I moved to where I live and work now I had to quickly get educated on agricultural issues. Half my town is agricultural lands and I am grateful that there were farmers here who took the time to share their knowledge and challenges with me. I learned not only how difficult and fragile growing crops can be, how incredibly hard farmers work, how they are excellent stewards of the land and also how land regulation impacts the their ability to run a farm.
This week one of my town’s prominent farmers passed away. I am deeply indebted to him for always keeping me up on agricultural issues, for letting me pick his brain with a million questions about farmland protection and for the best asparagus I ever ate.
And so this week gratitudes go to farmers for:
- taking care of the land that sustains us
- nourishing me and my family and the world
- providing the amazing colors and health benefits of food
- working from sun up to sundown, every single day, yet still having time for someone in need
- giving me the inspiration to start growing my own food
Whenever possible, please buy directly from farmers and farmer’s markets. It not only helps them keep farming, but the food is fresher, it has less environmental impact, preserves open space and farmland, and helps keep the dollars in your local economy.