Now Let Us Give Thanks #FoodThanks

For the third year in a row, the AgChat Foundation is leading an effort to generate awareness and gratitude for those who put food on our tables.  If you’d like to learn more about it, go over to #FoodThanks. Here’s my post from the first year. I think it’s still relevant:

I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a tremendous family, good health, and live in the best country in the world. Lots for which to be thankful. I also have one of the best jobs in the world. Every day, my job reminds me of how thankful I should be. You see, neither I nor any of my family has ever gone hungry.

While I stand on a high hill watching people being fed, I also get to look in another direction and get a panoramic view of food being grown, produced and taken to market. Because I know how many people and how much work is involved in that process, it’s easy for me to be grateful for the Thanksgiving meal I’ll share with my family this year.

I’m thankful for the farmers, no matter their size and production techniques. Without them, none of us would be fed. Farming’s hard work that takes a commitment that goes way beyond that of simply making a living.

I’m thankful for the people who pick up, process and deliver food to market. Also hard work, often with very thin margins, and certainly no guarantees of success. Some of them are my own teammates, so I get to see up close and personal how passionate they are about feeding people. I’m humbled and honored to be able to share the products of their hard work.

I’m thankful for people in grocery stores, farmer’s markets, restaurants, institutional kitchens, food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens—anywhere food is conveyed to those of us who will consume it.

I’m thankful that we live in a country that produces a bounty of food. I’m hopeful we’ll continue to explore new ways that bounty can be shared among those who don’t have enough. I’m also hopeful that any changes we make in the way we produce food will allow us to continue to feed our country, in addition to many across the globe.

Now let us give thanks.

Now Let Us Give Thanks

By Ed Nicholson

I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a tremendous family, good health, and live in the best country in the world. Lots for which to be thankful. I also have one of the best jobs in the world. Every day, my job reminds me of how thankful I should be. You see, neither I nor any of my family has ever gone hungry.

While I stand on a high hill watching people being fed, I also get to look in another direction and get a panoramic view of food being grown, produced and taken to market. Because I know how many people and how much work is involved in that process, it’s easy for me to be grateful for the Thanksgiving meal I’ll share with my family this year.

I’m thankful for the farmers, no matter their size and production techniques. Without them, none of us would be fed. Farming’s hard work that takes a commitment that goes way beyond that of simply making a living.

I’m thankful for the people who pick up, process and deliver food to market. Also hard work, often with very thin margins, and certainly no guarantees of success. Some of them are my own teammates, so I get to see up close and personal how passionate they are about feeding people. I’m humbled and honored to be able to share the products of their hard work.

I’m thankful for people in grocery stores, farmer’s markets, restaurants, institutional kitchens, food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens—anywhere food is conveyed to those of us who will consume it.

I’m thankful that we live in a country that produces a bounty of food. I’m hopeful we’ll continue to explore new ways that bounty can be shared among those who don’t have enough. I’m also hopeful that any changes we make in the way we produce food will allow us to continue to feed our country, in addition to many across the globe.

This week, we’re joining hundreds in support of the AgChat Foundation’s #foodthanks effort to give credit to all those who help bring meals to our table year-round. You can join the effort by using your blog, Twitter or Facebook account tomorrow with the #foodthanks hashtag. Find out more by visiting http://foodthanks.com/

Now let us give thanks.

Food insecurity: Get in on the discussion

by Ed Nicholson

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned AgChat, the excellent Twitter discussion about food production  that occurs every Tuesday evening from 8-10 Eastern.  Once a month, the group uses the hashtag #foodchat to broaden the discussion beyond agriculture. 

This week’s #Foodchat topic will be Food Insecurity.  If you’re involved in hunger relief, your perspective is critical to this discussion.

This is a great opportunity for hunger advocates to communicate with a diversity of those interested in how our food is produced.  Past participants have included farmers of all kinds (dairy, meat, vegetable, fiber, local/organic, larger farms), advocates, corporate types, and more.   Most of us have a dog in the hunt. That’s what makes it interesting.  It’s a moderated discussion, so respect of fellow participants is demanded. 

The best way to join the discussion is to sign in to your Twitter account via a Webchat tool such as Tweetchat or Twubs.  When you sign in, use the hashtag #foodchat.  (If you’ve never used one of these tools, it’s easy and safe; just go to the link and sign in)

Hope to see you there.

 

 

What’s your big question?

 

 

agchat

By Ed Nicholson

Most every Tuesday night when I’m around a computer, I try to drop in on an always-interesting Twitter conversation called AgChat. Moderated by the inexhaustible  Michele Payn-Knoper,  AgChat features discussion around agriculture and food production from a diversity of participants with an interest in how food gets to people.  I typically listen more than I contribute.  For one thing, I think farmers and ranchers should have a predominant voice in this discussion. There’s also the (unfounded) assertion by some that "big ag" has too much influence in the discussion. I don’t want to feed that impression.

Last night, question #7 in the discussion was:  If you had to select one topic for our chat that would be useful to ag & draw farm & food tweeps, what would that topic be? 

I had some ideas immediately, but again thought it better to refrain.  So I’m going to pose some questions in this forum, the "one topic" being:
How are we going to feed the 6.7 billion people on our planet, one billion of whom are currently at risk of hunger?

How’s that for a big old topic? Here are some questions that could stream from the topic:

  • Do you think the current food production system is broken?
  • If you’re advocating the current food production system is broken, how would you fix it to ensure affordable, accessible food for all?
  • Should governments mandate what kind of food we can buy/consume?  If so, what?
  • If you advocate for purely local production systems, what happens when those systems fail (as they invariably will, from time to time)?
  • Can we make locally-produced food more affordable for those with limited means? If so,  how do we do it, while keeping a fair return for the farmer?
  • Can/should large agri-business play a role in local production? If so, how?
  • How can hunger relief providers such as food banks get more engagement/donations from local farmers and ranchers?
  • Should we fix our own problems of hunger in the U.S. before we start trying to help the rest of the world? 

What questions would you ask?

You should join AgChat on Tuesday evenings, 8-10 PM EST. You can see a sampling of the conversation (and join yourself) here.