Thought for the Day: Our Farmers

Since President Abraham Lincoln declared it a national holiday in 1863, those of us in the United States have been celebrating Thanksgiving  Day on the final Thursday in November.   We give thanks and count our many blessings – and usually eat too much with family and friends.


One important blessing is our many farmers who provide the food we eat.

A way to become more conscious and make more informed choices about the food we have offered is to get to know our local farmers and their concerns.


If you live in Hawaii, a great way to do that is to join the Hawaii HFUU 2016 colored w microns Farmers Union United, a vital community group.  Whether you are a family  farmer, an avid backyard gardener, or just like to know where you can get good local produce, HFUU offers wonderful workshops, informative meetings, and works on important agricultural concerns.

For more information and to join, go to:

Current President of Maui Farmers Union United and Vice President of Hawaii State Farmers Union United, Vincent Mina says about the challenges of farming (and everything else),

“If you do anything substantive, it will be hard.  Just get on with it.”


Vincent Mina – from the HFUU home page.

Wherever you are in the world, check out what your farmers are doing.   “Get on with it.”

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family — and all who provide for you.

Aloha, Renée


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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

4 responses to “Thought for the Day: Our Farmers”

  1. Rosita says :

    That sounds interesting….sadly, here in brasil we don’t commemorate thanksgiving. How is it commemorated in Hawaii? Is it different from mainland USA? There are other countries who do commemorate it apart from USA?
    Wish y’all a happy thanksgiving,

    • reneeriley says :

      Hi Rosita: A difference between Thanksgiving celebrations on the U.S. Mainland and Hawaii is that you are likely to find family and friends gathering here in Hawaii on the beach or in parks or in back yards. Many of the turkeys, the traditional main meat, are cooked in a Hawaiian imu (a slow cooking underground fire pit – that takes all night to cook the meat, but leaves it very moist and flavorful – and gives the cooks (usually men) the excuse to sit around and talk and often drink much of the night while they are watching the imu. On the Mainland, U.S. the November weather is usually very cool or cold, so the families get together at grandma’s or an aunt’s house to cook a big feast. Then everyone not in the kitchen cleaning up watches football on T.V. It’s a time of family and a good meal – and a recognition and reminder of the many blessings each of us enjoys. Canada celebrates its Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. China celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival from essentially the night of a full moon—which falls near the Autumnal Equinox (on a day between September 8 and October 7 in the Gregorian calendar). Many places in the world have celebrated fall harvests. I bet the indigenous peoples of Brazil have a fall harvest celebration. Do you know? Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holiday. What’s your favorite in Brazil? Aloha, Renée

      • Rosita says :

        My favorite holiday in brasil, hum…lets me see, I guess it’s Easter, wish is an universal one 😉 and about an indigenous Brazilian commemoration in fall, IDK, sorry, ’cause here we don’t really have fall…but our Brazilian indigenous might have any similar commemoration, I guess ^^ and do y’all have any typical Hawaiian commemoration? If yah, wha’ is and how it is?
        Hope y’all are fine,

      • reneeriley says :

        Hi Rosita: I’m very sorry about your Brazilian team Chapecoense members and the journalists (and the others) who died in the plane crash Monday night. What a terrible tragedy for their families, friends, town members, your country, and sports fans everywhere. Strength and blessings to all of you. Aloha, Renée

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