With the holidays just around the corner, many of us make a special effort to prepare special foods that are a part of our family traditions. Jack Fisher, vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau, writes about this in the latest issue of their publication, Our Ohio. He points out that no matter which holiday – Ramadan*, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or New Year’s Day, food is a central part of each celebration.
He says, “Food as a cultural icon, reflects the deep meaning it played in the lives of our ancestors.” He goes on to relate that, no matter what our heritage, “many parts of our diverse cultures are rooted in agriculture,” yet, today, “precious few of us make our living on the land.”
He notes that whether food is simply fueling us on an ordinary day or honoring our “roots” on special holidays, it has a significance “far beyond its basic function.” Since many of us don’t raise our own foods, I join Fisher in thinking that we are, indeed, fortunate to have so many of the people who farm for us “right next door.”
I thank Fisher for his reflections on our cultures, foods and farmers. Our heartland’s agriculture is just as diverse as the history of its people, and the holidays are the time to praise our farmers and be thankful for the great role they play in our lives.
*Ramadan is the name of the ninth month of the Islamic calendar which one Web site calls a “season surpassing any annual event in the world.” A time of worship and contemplation, during this month, Muslims fast during the daylight hours and, in the evening, eat small meals with family and friends and strengthen family and community ties.