As we enjoy these meals let's not forget that all of the food on the table originated from one kind of farm or another. And it's highly likely it was a family farm where sons and daughters, moms and dads took personal pride in raising or growing that food.
I want to share a message I received not long ago from Utahns who understand the connection between their food and the farm. I think these messages say a lot about our farmers and ranchers.
"We come from a ranching background and appreciate the efforts of those who produce livestock and crops. We recognize that they have difficult hurdles most years and that their financial security is usually in jeopardy, but for the sake of preserving an incredible lifestyle and out of a desire to provide food for the people of this state, they continue to confront the challenges before them and push for agricultural and livestock production improvements."
"What I appreciate about my rural counterparts: They provide safe, plentiful, and high-quality products at reasonable prices. They set a good example of the value of hard work. Their dedication and existence helps prevent the spread of urban sprawl. They remind me of simpler times."
"Farming is a wholesome, healthy way of life, and I'm glad to support that for people. I highly value the fact that I can take my children to farms and they can see where some of their meat, produce, and dairy products come from. I also think seeing the faces of the people who grow the food I buy makes me a more responsible consumer and them more responsible growers."
There seems to be a theme of thanksgiving in these messages as if to say; Thank you for doing the hard work of growing our food so we can pursue other endeavors, thank you for the high quality products you give us, and thank you for caring for the land.
In this spirit of thanksgiving let me direct you to a few websites where you can get to know a Utah farmer and personally thank them. First visit Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food. The new online resource advances a national conversation about food and agriculture and highlights the importance of local and regional food systems, one of the fastest growing segments of agriculture. While at the AgriAdvocates site sign up to become an advocate for agriculture. The website offers information about how agriculture contributes to our self-sufficiency, how agriculture supports the economy and how wildlife benefits from Utah agriculture.
Another good way to get to know a farmer is at a farmers market. A list of markets and their yearly schedules is available at Utahsown.Utah.gov.