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December 28, 2014
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A special Thanksgiving


In 2012, we watched school gardens grow, tended by children, teachers and a corps of youth hired through the Center for Workforce Development. Farmers’ markets, farmstands, specialty stores, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares of a farm’s bounty, as well as eating establishments promoting locally produced food, continue to take a large share of consumers’ food dollars, dollars that are immediately returned to the local economy. Beyond providing wholesome and consumable products, our farmers enrich our lives on a daily basis by creating jobs that generate economic activity.

When I moved to Youngsville over 30 years ago, I dreamed of living in an environment where I could live in harmony with my neighbors and the environment while growing much of my own food. Today, more than half of that dream is recognized. I can walk down my road and legally buy a bottle of raw milk from my neighbor, or go to the neighborhood markets and buy exquisite fresh mozzarella and aged cheeses produced at farms very close by. My chickens produce the finest eggs anywhere, as they forage on grass and insects in the yard. The organic garden continues to yield abundant fruits and vegetables.

This Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for seeing so much accomplished here by our farming community. I look to the future and see a viable economic system of an affordable, local food distribution system that will serve everyone in our community, where no one is left behind, including the growing population of seniors, many who are shut in at home or in nursing facilities; school lunchrooms; and government institutions including prisons.

Today, I am thankful to be surrounded by people with the abilities and resources to produce so much abundance. My dream is that we can all participate in sharing our local harvest. We are getting there. Let’s continue to make this Thanksgiving and 2013 a step in that direction.

[Maria Grimaldi is the Catskill Regional Representative for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (www.nofany.org) and an educator with Catskill Delaware Permaculture (www.catskilldelawarepermaculture.org).]