Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving reflections

We here at Pearson's Town have so much to be thankful for this year!Starting our program with only one year guaranteed funding, we have now finished our second season. We have made many friends far and wide. We have been able to impact students, community members and even had a few words with state and federal legislators. At Saint Joe's, we have become an official part of the school through the Mercy Center. There is more, much more, but there are other things on my mind. . . I just came from Catherine's Cupboard, the food pantry that we are blessed to partner with. Tonight they gave out 118 Thanksgiving dinners and a score more turkeys to families in need this season. It was nice to see family's needs being filled, and I am more than thankful for Bon Appétit and Wayside for procuring so many turkeys for the cause. Still I can't help but think, "Is it possible that Maine farmers can provide locally grown, free range turkeys for Maine's people and still be able to have viable businesses?"
When I see words like Butterball I can't help but think about how the bird was raised and how that reflects on how much we value the people that we are going to sell, or in this case give, those birds to (Don't get me wrong, in the absence of a perfect system I happy for what we have to share with those in need). Was the turkey loved and valued as a food source that will nourish some child, or just another number among the many thousands stuffed in an enclosure with another weight benchmark attached to it?
We butchered the P.T.F. (Pearson's Town Farm) birds last Wednesday and we ate them Thursday at the school's T-day dinner. It was wonderful to know that our birds grew up with us, and that we saw them from day 1 to the oven (yes we helped butcher them too, at a state inspected plant), to the plate. We were involved in literally every aspect of the birds life after they hatched. They roamed free, they chased children, the trapped cars at the farm (sorry to the kind gentleman who dropped off leaves and couldn't escape the horde of turkeys. . . we will work on getting birds with proper manners next time), they followed us around at meal times and ate bugs from our compost piles. They even, on more than one occasion called in a couple of flocks of wild turkeys who have been regular visitors ever since. I am thankful that on top of all of the other blessings on our farm that we are able to offer the students at Saint Joe's and the clients at Catherine's Cupboard "real food"! Food that was grown with the health of people in mind, not the bottom line. I have a great dream that our students and our patrons will speak up and demand a food system that is first and foremost focused on people and not income. Perhaps, if I may be so bold, in a time of struggling economies, the govt would devote more time, energy and resources to rebuilding a strong agricultural base in Maine, and the U.S. and support family farms and local agriculture! After all, cars will come and go, fads will change, but food is forever!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!! Don't forget to be thankful for the everything in life! Family, neighbors, friends, warmth, and especially life!!!!

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