Food brings everyone to the table - March 23, 2021
By Todd Fornstrom, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation President “Food brings everyone to the table!” That phrase was an understatement when I was growing up. As the youngest of three brothers growing up on a farm, the table was where I learned a lot about life. We were always hungry, and we most likely needed the most direction at that stage in life. Lunch time was first and foremost a time to refuel and recover in preparation for the rest of the day. My mother always had the meal ready, and my brothers and I had the job of setting and picking up the table. We would all sit down with mom on one end of the table and dad at the other and eat as a family. Whether we talked about what happened earlier in the day or what was supposed to happen the rest of the day, we enjoyed the family time. I suppose the hidden parts of that meal everyday were the planning, feedback and simple responsibilities taught to us young boys through simply eating lunch. Food is not only nourishment for the body, but it has been the platform to facilitate meetings and gatherings alike. We as Americans get together to celebrate everything from the 4th of July, Christmas, Thanksgiving, to super bowls, graduations and the common backyard picnics. The reason for getting together varies widely as the type of food being served. From backyard barbeques with our neighbors to Heads of State dinners for our national leaders. The purpose is the sharing of culture, tradition, camaraderie, and common ground through the gathering around a table with food being served. As a farmer I believe we play a crucial role in how society works together. Food is not only essential to our well-being, but it is also a platform to get everyone to the table. In America, we farmers and ranchers produce the most abundant, safe, and economically priced food supply in the world. With this in mind there are many forces that affect our ability to produce this food. Some of those forces that play a role include availability of labor, regulation of air, water, fertilizer, and pest control. Those issues along with additional pressures from global trade have an impact on farmers and ranchers. In today’s day and age, the consumers are so far removed from the farm table that they want to know how we produce their food and have many questions. It is our job as farmers and ranchers to not only reassure our customers of their food’s safety, but also help bring them to the table through education on our production processes. We all should keep in mind that food is part of our overall freedom; without an adequate supply we are dependent on sources outside of our control and outside of our borders.