Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Thanksgiving season is upon us and with it the tradition of pulling a glistening turkey from the oven. Turkeys are native to the United States and were once the beloved fowl of Ben Franklin, who considered them a more noble mascot for the United States than the antagonistic Bald Eagle. I was not aware that within the last century many native breeds of turkeys have been pushed to the brink of extinction until I read this article. Kansas farmer, Frank Reese Jr., a long time turkey aficionado, is credited with saving America's heritage turkey breeds. The story of how he preserved the genetic diversity of domestic turkeys is a surprising tale of how easily our food security can slip away in the face of industrial agriculture. We owe a debt of gratitude to Frank Reese and all farmers who devote their lives to supplying us with nourishing, seasonal, and diverse foods in the face of industrial farming.