On Gardening: Give thanks to your local farmer
by Danielle Carroll
Special to The Star
Nov 18, 2012 | 2719 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A couple of years ago, my daughter’s third-grade class was asked to write a letter of thanks to anyone they chose. This, of course, was the week prior to Thanksgiving. Their grade was given based on letter form — salutation, date, body, closing, etc. While at the school one day, her teacher asked to speak to me for a minute. She wanted to show me my daughter’s letter. Most of the kids, she said, wrote their letter to a teacher or parent, a few even to Santa Claus.

My kid’s salutation? “Dear lunchroom lady.”

The letter went on to thank the lunchroom lady for all her hard work. The meals were hot and delicious and filled her belly up.

I made a copy of the letter and get it out from time to time. It helps put everything in perspective. I send my daughter to school every day without having to think about packing a lunch. I often forget that there are folks who work very hard, very early in the morning to get breakfast and lunch ready for all those children. I owe them many thanks.

I take a lot for granted. I think most of us do. Food is one of those things. We are a foodie family. As my daughter’s letter indicates, she became a foodie at a very early age. We have a garden and love to harvest our own food, but that’s not where most of our food comes from.

If you ask, many may say their food comes from the grocery store. That may be true, but where does the grocery store get it?

Farmers are a select few these days. In fact, farmers only comprise 2 percent of our population. Think about that for a minute. There are not a lot of farmers left. It’s hard work — very hard work.

I like to know where my food comes from. That’s why I do a little of my grocery shopping at the Alabama farmers markets. There, I know exactly where my food comes from. I also know that my dollar is spent locally and ends up in the hand of the farmer. This helps ensure these farming communities stay around for years to come.

Have you ever shopped at a local farmers market? I promise you won’t be disappointed. I’ve been to many, all over the state, and they’re all a little different. However, they all have fresh, locally grown produce, usually with the farmer who grew it standing there selling it. If I have a question, the farmer will surely know the answer.

Items other than produce that are commonly sold at farmers markets include herbs, flowers, local honey, homemade breads and even fresh ground grits and goat’s milk soap. Like I said, every farmers market has different vendors, some very unique.

So today I would like to give thanks to our Alabama farmers. I appreciate the sweat you put in so that I have fresh produce, bacon, fish, bread and milk, as well as my Thanksgiving turkey.

While I am fortunate enough to have a nice Thanksgiving dinner, others are not. Please be mindful of the food drives and food banks in your area. More than one in six Americans goes hungry. Many hardworking folks have to skip meals to make ends meet. If you have extra, please consider nourishing the belly of someone who otherwise may go without.

Happy Thanksgiving.
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On Gardening: Give thanks to your local farmer by Danielle Carroll
Special to The Star

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