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.