I participated in the viral 30 Days of Thanks that people were doing on Facebook. I liked the inspiration of seeing what my friends were thankful for and the challenge to find something every single day in my own life to be thankful. Of course we are all thankful for our families and our health, but the 30 days let us get a little silly. “I’m thankful for owning a vineyard….for the obvious reasons,” one friend wrote. Or even my own “I’m thankful for pony noses” while I was spending some time in the barn. We also were serious: “I’m thankful for the power of prayer.” “I’m thankful for the right to vote.” “I’m thankful for all who serve.” It was when I wrote my own “I’m thankful for my husband who goes to work EARLY in the morning so we can have good health insurance,” that I realized we were maybe missing the boat a bit on the thankfulness. I realized, after I posted, that I hadn’t actually said those words to HIM. In fact, I should say it every day.
I’m hoping that our 30 Days of Thanks has put us in a habit of thinking about what we are thankful for every day, and now let’s go out and be ACTUALLY thankful instead of VIRTUALLY thankful. Tell people every day: your family, your friends, strangers. Do something nice to show your thanks. And that will put us all in the holiday spirit more than any shopping trip or holiday party ever could.
This “Small Business Saturday” I’ll be shopping local -- just not in Granby. Just like last year, I’ll be doing my “virtual” local shopping for friends and family all over the country: A mani/pedi for my niece in Wisconcin, a dinner out for my parents at their favorite local restaurant, tickets to a ball game for my nephew in a Chicago suburb. (Don’t worry, these were last year’s gifts…..) With Google as your tour guide, you can order anything online these days, so before you type in Amazon.com to you web browser, Google some stores local to your far-away friends and family. Of course I’ll be making my own list too. Here are some hints to my loved ones….err Santa.....
Instead of….. I’d rather have……
Harry and David gift basket Lost Acres Vineyard gift basket
Mall clothing store gift card Top Drawer Consignment gift certificate
Big chain beauty products Neal’s Yard Organics or Lyric Hill Farm soap
Chain restaurant meal Dinner for two at Metro Bis
Grocery store gift card Granby Village Health gift card
Omaha Steaks Maple View Farm steaks (sorry, shameless plug)
Toys R Us Neckers
Yesterday, Californians voted no to getting more information about their food. The question on their ballot asked if citizens of California wanted food companies to label Genetically Modified Foods. And they voted no. Some people think GMO are good for the environment (they can reduce herbicides and pesticide usage) and good for our growing world (they can feed more people globally). I think they’re crazy. I’ve read about their studies and understand what they are trying to accomplish, but sometimes you just have to go with your gut. The bottom line is: I don’t want to feed my family or myself GMOs. Easy, right? Not so much. What foods are genetically modified, or have GMOs in them? If you turn the package of ketchup over (with 4 boys, we go through lots of this stuff), the label doesn’t read “Genetically Modified High Fructose Corn Syrup” as the second ingredient. But I know that about 45 percent of corn grown in the US is genetically modified (as well as about 85 percent of soy). So is it, or isn’t it? For now, we won’t know – even in California. Their reluctance for labeling should give us some clue they have something to hide, but instead of relying on (or legislating) food companies to come clean with this information, I have another solution. Don’t buy packages; buy ingredients. For now, there are no genetically modified fruits and vegetables and if you stick to animals that were raised on pasture, you can avoid meat that was fed GMOs. If we can stay away from corn, soy, and canola (we are also producing GMO cotton in this country but I don’t think anyone is eating it), we can avoid almost all GMOs. If we vote with our dollars to say NO to GMOs, food companies will respond by not using them. Then biotech companies will respond with not making them. It’s important for our own health, the health of the animals we eat and the land on which our food grows. So I'm disappointed, California, but I'll continue on with my own strategy to defeat GMOs myself.
A blog about farming and food. Kate Bogli owns and operates Maple View Farm, raising livestock and growing veggies, with her husband Jason. The farm has been in his family for 65 years.