Photo by Saskia Esslinger
This is the time of year to express gratitude in the United States. At least, that was the original intention: to give thanks for the abundant harvest and our friends who share it with us. But do people actually appreciate where their food comes from? Do they even know?
As a gardener, you might know. Perhaps you will be serving up some of your own harvest this Thanksgiving. You might not feel like it is special because you didn’t go spend a bunch of money on it. It might not be exactly what your family usually serves for Thanksgiving. But think about all the tender loving care you put into growing, harvesting, and preserving it! Now that deserves some gratitude!
In fact, what if we ate from our gardens year-round, and gave thanks every day? What if every day was a sort of a Thanksgiving? Now, I’m not saying you have to provide all of your own food and eat pie every day (actually that would be awesome!) but you can live the sort of lifestyle where daily homegrown food and gratitude is a reality.
What would that look like? We would plan our gardens to provide enough food for us year-round, based on what we like to eat. We would plan our meals around what we had preserved instead of what was on sale at the store. We would prioritize growing and preserving food when it is appropriate in our climate. We would make time to cook wholesome meals from scratch.
We would give thanks for the sun, rain, soil life, and seeds. We would appreciate all of nature’s services. We would love our time spent tending our garden. We would give thanks for the time we have to work our gardens and all the help we get from friends and family.
Photo by Saskia Esslinger
We might say a blessing before each meal, or say things we are thankful for before bed. We might write for a few minutes every day in a gratitude journal. We might send a quick message, e-mail, personal cards, or letters to people who are special to us. We might teach our children to be grateful every day.
In return, we would be calmer, more content with life. We would be more emotionally resilient, less materialistic, and more optimistic. We would be kinder and have healthier, deeper relationships. We would see increased productivity, higher achievement, and better management at work. We would sleep better at night, get sick less often, be more toned, a healthier heart, and have increased energy. We would be more in touch with nature and have lower food bills. We might even have extra food to share with friends, neighbors, or those in need.
How does that sound for an extended harvest? This year instead of just consuming a little gratitude, we can sow seeds that will help us live a more abundant life, year-round.