As November approaches, thoughts turn to the planning and anticipation of the Thanksgiving Day feast. But before you run out the door to stock up on supplies, consider the meaning behind the celebration.

Thanksgiving came about as the direct result of farmers that had a plentiful harvest. Tables were filled with foods of the season that were all products on the land surrounding that particular family’s home.

Thanksgiving celebrations revolved around being thankful for the bounty of food the land blessed us with. That bounty was not always a given.

Once upon a time, all human beings were locavores, everything we ate was a gift of the Earth, to have something to devour is a blessing—let’s not forget it.
-Jessica Prentice, chef and writer who coined the term locavore back in 2005

Will anything on your Thanksgiving menu be locally produced?

Most families make their Thanksgiving grocery lists and head off to the store to prepare for their feast without a second thought.

Today we are so removed from the process of how our food arrives at our table that we don’t realize how far our food is truly traveling from or why it should even matter in the first place.

Local food is important

Think about where your canned pumpkin was produced (mine traveled about 1200 miles): the green beans, apples, stuffing, cranberries, and your store bought turkey that was likely inhumanely raised. Chances are they each traveled more than 100 miles to get to your kitchen for your Thanksgiving recipes.

Think of where those staple items were raised or grown. Then they needed to be taken somewhere for packaging or processing before they were shipped off to your grocery store where you’ll buy and then drive them home.

Ask yourself how much oil and fuel was used just in the process of transporting those food items. That oil and fuel that was used to transport your food does impact your price at the gas pump you know. Many people forget about that when they shop or fuel up.

Plus, local farmers are being forgotten and often put out of business by mass food producers that you are supporting by not buying local, green, food. Those local farmers have families to support and are doing honest work in raising their crops and animals. They often offer a better product to consumers but they get passed up or forgotten about when it comes to that Thanksgiving feast.

Back to the heart of Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving thank and support your local farmers by eating locally. Get back to the real meaning of Thanksgiving and savor the fruits of the land you live on. Scratch the backs of your neighbors by supporting their farming efforts. It is a great way to support your community too.

Consider seeking out a local grower to supply you with pumpkin or find a local orchard and pick your own apples. Even finding a locally raised turkey isn’t as hard as you would think. Often a local natural food store or a co-op can help you find a farmer that has what you need.

It only takes one step at a time to influence a huge change. Just commit to swapping one non-locally produced item for one that is local. Think of the local farmer’s family you’ll be helping to support, the amount of gas your food wont be guzzling to get to your table and the amazing taste of fresh food.

Even if it is just a single item, it can make a big difference to someone somewhere. Especially if we all make the commitment together.