What are You Thankful for this Thanksgiving?

My family doesn’t say grace before eating.

It’s not that my husband, chldren and I don’t have a lot to be thankful for; we do. But we have not, so far, made a daily declaration of gratitude part of our dinner routine.

Our only exception is at Thanksgiving dinner. I guess it’s the name of the holiday that reminds us to pause momentarily and consider the importance of giving thanks.

So, once a year, we begin our meal by expressing what we are most grateful for. Of course, this causes our daughters to roll their eyes, but they grudgingly go along with it when it’s their turn to share their thoughts.

This Thanksgiving, when it’s my turn, I’ll start by taking a cue from Farm Aid, which is “honor[ing] the bounty of the season… [by] thanking America’s family farmers for making that bountiful harvest possible in the first place.” To this end, FarmAid staff, as well as visitors to the site, have been writing personal thank-you’s to farmers. I plan to echo the words of an anonymous writer from Columbus, Ohio, who typed: “I am thankful to family farmers for keeping the traditions of seed preservation, environmental stewardship, and good animal husbandry alive now and for generations to come. I will continue giving my 'dollar votes' to local farmers who practice sustainable agriculture.”

I will also give thanks to:

Michael Pollan, who never sounds strident or scolding when he talks and writes with such incredible conviction and clarity about our food choices. His words have helped to spark the consciousness of millions.

- All the other passionate and persuasive real-food communicators -- like authors Eric Schlosser, Nina Planck and Barbara Kingsolver; filmmakers Robert Kenner and Anna Joanes; and farmer spokesperson Joel Salatin (who, by the way, is my first choice to succeed Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture after he’s fired by President Obama for ineffective leadership) – who help me know what to say and how to say it.

- Michelle Obama, who is so passionate about local and organic food that she dug up a section of that beautifully manicured White House lawn to plant vegetables.

- Living in a community that supports a cohesive network of 11 food co-ops, 40 or so farmers markets, plus who knows how many CSAs -- who do the sourcing and sorting and sifting and screening so I don’t have to.

- The luminary locavore chefs at Twin Cities restaurants – like Lucia Watson, Lenny Russo, Mike Phillips, Tracy Singleton, Alex Roberts, Brenda Langton and many, many others – who fight to raise awareness and appreciation for local and sustainable food, not so much with their words, but with their delicious food, day after day after day.

- Whole Foods, who took “health food” out of the bulk bins and made it sexy, exciting, fun, and worth paying more for.

- My father, who planted a garden every year and expected me, no, required me to work in it.

- My husband, Scott, who remains my most positive influence; he was the one who ignited my passion for cooking with whole, fresh ingredients; for appreciating simplicity; and for not settling or compromising when it comes to quality.

- My two daughters, who continue to challenge me to be a good steward of both the present and the future that they’ll inhabit with their children.

I could go on, but I'm going to stop and turn it over to you. When it's your turn to speak at the Thanksgiving table, what will you say? Please share your thoughts and tell us what or who you're most thankful for. Thank you.