Farmers deserve #FoodThanks this season

Autumn is my favorite time of year. From football games to piles of leaves, and all the jack-o-lanterns in between, the signs of the season are as far as the eye can see.  And as the cool crisp breeze begins to blow, the harvest moon is in full glow.

Like many of our neighboring states, the harvest here in south-central Kansas wasn’t quite as bountiful this year. Extreme drought, coupled with excessive heat for the greater part of the summer, took both an emotional and physical toll on farmers here in the heartland.

The sad truth is that, with the large disconnect between consumers and farms, most of these hardships go unnoticed by the general public. At work, many of the questions I’m confronted with are questions like, What can I eat to lower my cholesterol? How does processed food fit into a healthy diet? or My doctor says I should eat healthier – what does that mean? Very few have asked how our multi-generational family farm has survived the extreme drought, rising fuel costs or how increased energy costs have impacted the price we pay for feeding and caring for our animals, the environment and the people who work on our farms.

With that in mind, November is often known as the month of giving thanks. Family, friends, and food are often things that we are most thankful for. It’s important I do not forget, my family and I are consumers too. I purchase food from my local grocer to create balanced meals for my family. I know that behind every apple, pear, green bean, potato, pork chop or steak we eat – a farmer or rancher worked hard to produce it.

As I sit down to feast this Thanksgiving, I’ll be sure and give a special thanks to the farmers and ranchers who work endless hours to provide safe, wholesome and nutritious foods to nourish our bodies. I’m asking you to keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they travel down the tough road of recovery from the hardships endured this past year. Also, I’m asking you to share with me your #FoodThanks in the comments below, send out a tweet or take a second to share your #FoodThanks in a Facebook post. You just might be amazed by how many #FoodThanks you can come up with.

Consulting dietitian by day, dairy farmer’s wife and graduate student by night – Heidi Wells, RD, CSSD, LD incorporates her passion for agriculture, nutrition and fitness into everything she does. She currently represents the state as the president of the Kansas Dietetic Association, was the Recognized Young Dietitian of Kansas in 2008, and most recently the Distinguished Dietitian of Kansas in 2010.  Join her conversation on Twitter @HWellsRD.

Five Modern Twists on the Time-Honored Tradition of Giving Thanks for Food

From apps that make Thanksgiving meal planning a snap to social media campaigns to help Americans express #foodthanks, celebrating Thanksgiving has come a long way.

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 17, 2011 — While celebrating the end of harvest season is a tradition that can be traced back for centuries, modern-day twists on the custom have evolved since the 1621 Plymouth Colony fall feast. Just as pilgrims rejoiced in their first good harvest, Americans today have found meaningful ways to honor the bounty, and express gratitude:

  1. Give #foodthanks. Farmers long ago traded in their oxen for tractors and other technologies to raise nutritious, great-tasting food. This year, a group of farmers and ranchers is cultivating a social media campaign to initiate meaningful conversations about food with Americans on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and beyond, says Kansas farmer Darin Grimm of the AgChat Foundation. “For farmers on the go, social media is a great way to connect with consumers,” he says. “We’re hoping to see everyone from chefs to foodies to farmers using the #foodthanks hashtag.” Check out www.foodthanks.com, then tweet what you eat, using the #foodthanks hashtag, now through Thanksgiving.
  2. Plan your meal with an app. New recipe and meal-planning applications are a bounty in their own right. Try the Thanksgiving Menu Maker from Fine Cooking, which allows you to “tap your way to a customized holiday menu,” offering more than 75 of the magazine’s all-time favorite Thanksgiving recipes, along with a shopping list and schedule.
  3. Preserve the flavors of fall. Early American settlers would salivate over modern-day canning equipment. Once dismissed as a bygone art, canning has attracted a growing number of enthusiasts in recent years, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, which provides tips on canning, pickling, freezing and more. To really make a food statement, create your own labels at www.myownlabels.com.
  4. Host your own tasting party. The holiday table inspires us to create treasured traditions at home, including exploring new foods in the company of friends and family. Home entertaining expert Domenica Marchetti suggests a trend-worthy twist on the wine and cheese tasting part. The author of Big Night In (Chronicle Books, 2008) says, “Embrace the season’s bounty and host an apple tasting party!”
  5. Share in the bounty. Thanksgiving is a great time to talk with your family about helping others in need, whether it’s a family down the street or a hungry child on the other side of the world. Charitable organizations like Farmers Feeding the World and Heifer International believe that giving families a source of food, rather than short-term relief, is a more sustainable way to lift them out of poverty and hunger.

About AgChat Foundation, Inc. A group of farmers created the AgChat Foundation after connecting through the now highly visible “#AgChat” community on Twitter, a weekly moderated chat where agriculturists discuss various issues, tell their farm stories and identify ways to connect with people outside of agriculture. The Foundation strives to educate and equip “agvocates” with the skill set needed to engage on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, LinkedIn and other social media services, giving them the knowledge to unlock new tools to effectively tell their story. For more information, visit www.agchat.org.

Related Links:

http://foodthanks.com

Some of the posts already written

Join Us in Offering Your #FoodThanks Story

Several people have already been offering up their #foodthanks as we head to the Thanksgiving holiday in the US and a variety of holidays globally! In fact, as this post is written there have been 354 tweets of #foodthanks and we’ve seen them coming through Facebook, blogs, etc.

The perspectives on what you give #foodthanks for are as diverse as the people giving thanks and the [Read more...]