This time of year, Norman Rockwell’s classic painting of Thanksgiving dinner often comes to mind. You may remember this painting, which appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1942. Family and friends are gathered around a dinner table, where the matriarch is presenting a perfectly cooked turkey, ready to carve. Covered dishes crowd the center of the dining table, which dons a crisp, white tablecloth. There’s a smile on every face.
This painting is Rockwell’s interpretation of the “freedom from want,” which was originally articulated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1941 State of the Union address as one of the four freedoms our nation should seek to secure.
While there are certainly still Americans who are in need, many of our society's woes are more accurately described as problems of plenty. We are blessed to live in the United States of America, where we enjoy many freedoms, including the freedom from want. And that freedom is afforded to us by our nation’s farmers, ranchers and laborers. They work day in and day out to provide the food and fiber our nation needs to survive and thrive.
Here in Florida, more than 47,000 farms produce nearly 300 different commodities during Florida’s year-round growing season. The bounty they produce is enjoyed on dinner tables in Florida, across the nation and in more than 140 other countries around the world.
This Thanksgiving, when we gather with family and friends to say thanks for our blessings, we’ll fill our plates with any number of traditional Thanksgiving dishes, including casseroles, vegetables and wild game, as well as unique family recipes. Many of our favorite dishes on the Thanksgiving table were made possible by Florida’s farmers, ranchers and laborers.
So as you count your many blessings this Thanksgiving, count Florida’s farmers among them. Because of them, many of us enjoy Norman Rockwell’s interpretation of freedom from want.
Adam H. Putnam, Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Tallahassee