As I wrote about last year, not only is this week, Thanksgiving Week, it is also National Farm-City Week (November 19 – November 25, 2010). It’s a week designed by the National Farm City Council to highlight the important roles that urban and rural partnerships play in food and fiber production and to enhance the links between farm families and urban residents.
Since 1955, the President of the United States has annually proclaimed the week leading to and including Thanksgiving Day as National Farm-City Week.
This makes it a great time to thank our local farmers because without them, we would have no fresh food or most of the products we use on a daily basis. Many people, especially those who grow their own food may think that agriculture doesn’t directly affect them. But, this is simply not true. From the time you crawl out of the cotton sheets on your bed in the morning, until you brush your teeth at night, agriculture is there. And, if we want a sustainable system of agriculture then we must do all we can to help support and protect it.
First, educate yourself on farm issues. This means learning all about legislation and policy. A good starting point is to familiarize yourself with the Farm Bill. Also check out the issues and actions that are the focus of family farm organizations like Farm Aid and American Farmland Trust. The mission of both of these groups is to keep family farmers on the land. They not only advocate on behalf of legislation, but also support our small and family farmers in numerous ways.
Buying from farmers not only helps them keep farming, but it helps keep the dollars in the local economy. You can also look for locally grown produce and other foods when shopping at the supermarket. Look for “Buy Local” or “Locally Grown” signs showing that the food was made in your region or at least, your state. If you don’t see them where you shop, then ask where your food is grown, and if it isn’t grown locally, ask them to change their buying habits and buy local.
Use social media to thank our farmers, to spread the word and encourage others to thank them as well. Are you on Twitter? Then send out a message with the #ThankAFarmer hashtag in it. Or, share links to Farm Aid or other farm organizations on your Facebook wall and encourage others to do the same.