We here at Manyfold have so very, very much to be grateful for: we've lived through our first year of farming on our own, our ewes are happy and healthy, our chickens are productive and funny as can be, I could sit down with our three dogs and have a whole conversation with them about how grateful I am for their work; the egg business is booming, even as winter approaches; so many good people have helped make our farm sucessful this year, to name a few: our parents who came out almost every week to help with chores in the dead of summer heat; our friends who buy our eggs, come out to workdays, and get excited about what we're doing; our neighbors who come out and lend a hand, buy eggs, and tell us how much they can't wait for lamb and cheese; our community without which we could not have cut our hay, built our chicken houses, re-roofed the barn, or rescued two of our dogs (Carter W. and Chip N., I'm looking at you!); our customers who keep coming back for more, and especially to our co-producers who inspire us every day. Without these farming folks this whole endeavor to provide good, clean, and fair food to people would be an absurd task. I am so grateful to call you among my friends. As I write this, I see that building a farm creates a feast of gratitude, from the people around us to the food on our plates: it is all conncected. We could not make food without the people who help us, and we would not have people to help us if we did not have food. If Garrison Keillor is right when he tells us, "gratitude is the deepest way we are happy," and I believe he is, then we have had a year of unbelievable happiness.
So, as you sit down to your bountiful meal today, consider for a moment how this food came to be. Consider the people around you and how they came to be among you. Focus your minds eye on all the connections present at your table and take pleasure in it. It will make you happy. I promise.
I leave you with the words of Wendell Berry,
Eating with the fullest pleasure - pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance - is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend.
I wish you all the deepest pleasure of gratitude this Thanksgiving. Be well and eat well.