Giving Thanks

I love Thanksgiving. Everyone loves Thanksgiving. It’s the holiday where all families can come together and do one thing only and do it well…..EAT!!! No wrapped gifts in sight; just good food, family and laughter. I’m so fortunate because my grandmother loves to cook and she handles all the details, even at the age of 76. I helped her set up and prepare and I even ran to the store for some extra canned peas but other than that, I have no idea how much the full spread cost her for all 26 of us. So I did some research.

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, a traditional Thanksgiving meal will cost 13% more this year than last. The turkey alone will cost 22% more. Much of the increase can be linked to higher cost in energy, meaning fuel for transportation. Inflation is also a factor. According to a new USDA forecast, food prices in 2011 are projected to increase by 3.5 to 4.5%. Prices for cereals, bakery products, poultry and processed fruits and vegetables are forecasted to rise rapidly in 2012, even though inflation is expected to slow. Two things automatically come to mind: I should budget more money for groceries next year and I definitely take advantage of my grandmother’s cooking and her gratuitous nature.

I am thankful for the awesome holiday dinner I shared with family yesterday. But as I think ahead, I worry about tomorrow. How will the less fortunate be able to afford food in the future? With a growing world population, how much more will prices inflate? How available will food products be? How much more will fuel prices increase? I traveled to Detroit recently for a work related policy conference and by touring the city I learned the last national grocery store chain left the city in 2007. Most Detroiter’s shop for groceries at a corner gas station. This makes me even more thankful not only for yesterday’s meal but all year-long.

I also can’t help but think back to my last post on GMO’s: The Rest of the Story. The facts above reinforce the need for genetically engineered crops. You see, not only do they increase farmers’ production and yields but the oil from these plants can be used in alternative fuels, known as biodiesel. When used, biodiesel can reduce transportation costs and fuel emissions; positively impacting rising food prices, our environment, and even our economy.

Finally, I’m thankful for American farmers, especially those in Delaware including my family, and the fact that they are the reason food was so good yesterday and all year-long.

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