As a farmer, Thanksgiving (and Fall generally) is my favourite time of year to celebrate.
I don't want to belittle the history of North American Thanksgiving celebrated hand-in-hand with colonial violence and oppression. Certainly, this holiday became entrenched in our culture as part of the narrative of those who stole the land and lives of so many indigenous people. It is a holiday decended from Puritan and other Christian traditions, which have sometimes sought to wipe out other views and people. As the inheritors of the colonizers of North America (even if not directly descended from them), we have an obligation to honour all of the people who lived on this land before us and belong to it.
Harvest festivals and days of thanksgiving are also ancient and present all over the world. In a way, this Holiday is representative of aspects of being human which are inescapable: perseverance, hard work, the will to survive, violence and prejudice, tribal loyalty and love. We can be all of these things at once, because we are human animals crawling around on planet Earth.
For me, Thanksgiving is about being grateful for the bounty that we have earned from our hard work on this land. The land doesn't belong to us (in a moral sense), but we have accepted roles as caretakers of it, and thoughtful cultivators of the incredible plants which feed us and our community. Coming together with loved ones is a wonderful expression of what we have earned through our efforts, and is a way to celebrate the communities (large and small) which keep us going.
Fall is my favourite time of year, when our harvests are still bountiful, but we see ahead the time when we can take a breath, take a break, and enjoy what we have without working every minute. If you love this time of year as well, I hope you will enjoy the amazing food that our world has to offer, and feel that by supporting local farmers, you have contributed to producing the food you prepare for Thanksgiving.
Wishing everyone good food and time spent with loved ones, whether in person or virtually.
*Thanksgiving feast picture from last year, big family gathering*
*Fall colours on the rail trail next to the farm*