Monday, November 23, 2015

Eating Omily: Thanking the Chain

All you last minute Thanksgiving shopping New Yorkers are in luck this year! The Union Square Farmers Market will be open Tuesday as well as Wednesday this week! They won't be around on Friday, not that you'll need any food then!!

If you're wondering what all you can get for your feast at farmer's market, well, the answer is basically everything! I just picked up cranberries today, and heavy cream, butter, sweet potatoes, turkeys, flour, popcorn, etc. etc. etc. were all there as well. You can read all about it here, and here, in my previous Thanksgiving posts.

This year, I want to focus a little bit on what Thanksgiving is about: being thankful! One of the coolest parts about shopping at farmers' markets is that I have the opportunity to express my gratitude to the people who grow the food I eat.

I have such admiration for farmers: their livelihood is a dance with Mother Earth, and Father Sky. They take huge risks every year, and they work so hard, getting up early in the morning and getting their hands dirty, driving their produce into the city and standing in the freezing cold all winter long to see that I get my cheese curds and kale, to say nothing of all the administrative work of farming and marketing the produce: managing investments, marketing, tracking spending and earning...I'm truly in awe of all the hats they wear!

It's awesome to thank the people working the registers at grocery stores as well of course: they form part of the chain of people keeping you fed, along with farmers, farm workers, truck drivers, chefs, line cooks, waiters, inventors, crafters, alchemists (raw chocolate magicians, Laura and Cayce, I'm so looking at you!) whoever cooks in your family, whoever buys the groceries in your family, etc. etc.'s a long list!

When we started industrializing farming with petroleum based fertilizers and pesticides after World War II, we thought we were going to change that. We thought we could cheat Mother Earth and get more food per acre, allowing less people to work in food production. We did manage to cut way down on the number of farmers...but I don't have to tell you what a deal with the devil that turned out to be. On top of that, centralizing our food system necessitated people to get that food out to everyone else. Instead of one farming family and some hired hands growing a diverse harvest of foods for local communities, and handling most of the steps in that process of getting the food to the community, we now have few farmers growing monoculture crops, and a vast army of people getting that food to us, including lots of factory workers making creepy processed products, and of course, people making poverty wages doing the incredible dehumanizing work of the massive slaughterhouses.

I'm not a proponent of vegetarianism or veganism, as you should know by now...especially if you read the posts I linked to above! But I do believe that killing animals for food is sacred and powerful work and needs to be treated as such. It's just one of many reasons why we need to cut waaaay back on how much meat we eat...and eat actual animals. No more buying massive packs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. What is that, even?? But I digress.

My point is, we can change HOW we work to feed ourselves, but we can't change that we NEED to work to feed ourselves, and we can't even change roughly what percentage of the population needs to work to get us all fed! We can only make their jobs more or less holistic and gratifying. Truck driver, or farmer? Factory worker, or farmer? Well, to each his her or their own, of course, but my money's on farmer for more people than get the chance to do it.

If you don't have access to a farmer's market, be sure to take a moment to consider the farmers who grew your feast, and maybe look into the possibility of mailing a thank you card to farmers in your area! You can even mention how much you'd love to buy their awesome produce straight from them, however possible! You never could start a revolution in your community!

I'm also thankful for my readers. You guys who click the link and plow through the paragraphs, in spite of my sometimes inconsistent schedule. You. Are. Rad.

Happy Thanksgiving, guys!

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