As we approached Thanksgiving, I asked some friends and family who regularly share information about food and show their thanks if they would be willing to do it. I have shared brief thoughts from several on food, and others have written guest posts for me. I’m thrilled to have my brother Ray’s thoughts about giving #FoodThanks today. I’ve mentioned my brother and his organic cooperative before (this summer my niece visited the farm and previously I talked about how our family benefits from his farm at Thanksgiving!) That’s him & my proud momma!
I have always liked eating, but I have not always been thankful for where my food comes from.
Ten years ago Elizabeth and I bought a 20-acre farm that is one of the historic Swiss Mennonite homesteads in our community, between Bluffton and Pandora, Ohio, and we started a cooperative that runs the farm with us. Now I not only have much to be thankful for, but I am more aware of those for whom I should be thankful.
I’m thankful for the Amstutz, Gilliam, Welty, and Reichenbach families who owned the farm before us, for their amazing carpentry skills in building the house, barn, and shop, all of which continue to provide shelter for us and our livestock as well as protect our tools, hay, and food.
I’m thankful for the many friends and the contractors who have helped us renovate the house, barn, and shop and who have helped us build our fences.
I’m thankful for the friends who from the very beginning shared our vision of an organic farm run by a cooperative and invested their time and energy as well as the new friends we have made along the way as they joined the cooperative. I’m thankful for the current group of 21 families as well as the other 11 families who for various reasons are no longer an active part of the cooperative. I’m thankful for our work and play together and especially for the many good meals we have shared.
I’m thankful for the livestock that I enjoy watching play and feed in the pasture and orchard as well as the food that they provide us.
I’m thankful for the wildlife, especially the barn swallows, kingbirds, praying mantises, bullfrogs, and toads that help with pest control, but even for the mink, fox, and hawks that occasionally kill a chicken for food.
I’m thankful for the rich, living soil and the sun and the rain that provides an excellent environment for the plants in the pasture, hayfield, orchard, and vegetable garden to grow.
I’m thankful for the vegetables, fruits, nuts, and herbs we enjoy as food and for the black-eyed susans, Queen Anne’s lace, and goldenrod that add color to the farm and provide a home for the praying mantises.
I’m thankful for the stately trees, lilacs, forsythia, peonies, and various bulbs that provide shade and/or beautiful colors in the yard.
I’m thankful for the many blessings of God’s creation and having a community of friends and family to share it with.
Now when I sit down to eat, I am thankful for all of the people and things that helped produce the meal and, even when we do not sing it out loud, I often am reminded of the words of a sung prayer before the meal:
Thank you for this food,
This food, this glorious, glorious food,
And the animals,
And the vegetables,
And the minerals,
That made it possible.