By Analiese Paik
I’m sitting down for what feels like the first time today. Cooking for the last three days in preparation for Thanksgiving has given me plenty of quiet time to think about what I’m thankful for. Besides my family, wonderful and supportive friends, and farmers who grow the food I eat, I’m thankful for every stakeholder – from consumers to retailers to chefs – that takes small actions that lead to meaningful change in our food system.
I’m also grateful for the big thinkers and advocates who have helped shape the way I eat and informed my work. Their books, films, talks, articles, and advocacy work have educated and influenced consumers, and given rise to changes that are critical to the future of food.
And they keep pushing the envelope to feed our insatiable appetite for knowledge about our broken food system and ways to fix it.
I’m currently reading “The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food” by Janisse Ray, which feeds my love of heirloom foods and thirst for knowledge about forgotten American flavors. Ray says that 94% of commercial seed varieties available one hundred years ago are now gone. Extinct. Lost forever to mankind. Early in Ray’s book she interviews a radical gardener who says that real power lies in opting out of the broken food system. I’m grateful that I can do this and well aware that no everyone can.
Rather than feeling defeated about the loss of edible plant diversity (ditto for livestock), I chose to buy heirloom beans and squash and a heritage turkey for Thanksgiving from organic farmers in the county. I made a big fuss on this site about the organic, heritage turkeys from On the Rocks Farm and the farmer told me he sold every turkey and will grow more next year if I promise to promote them again. I’m grateful to each and every person who read that article and contacted Bill to buy his Bourbon Red and Standard Bronze turkeys. Knowingly or not, you said no to industrial food and yes to preserving heritage breeds, organic agriculture, and food grown close to home on family farms.
Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving,