Stories / Impact

3 Ways to Thank the People Behind Your Holiday Meals

Don't forget producers and food industry workers this season

Ashley Kosiak

November 18, 2019


Photo: Clay Williams
Photo: Clay Williams

It’s difficult to believe that the holiday season is almost upon us. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah—however you celebrate, it’s almost certain to include a delicious meal (or two or three). As you reflect on the things you’re grateful for, we’d encourage you to keep some important, if sometimes overlooked, food system items in mind.

  • Thank Your Local Farmer, Rancher or Fisherman/woman: while for many of us it’s more difficult to get fresh local produce in December, it’s never the wrong time to thank your local farmer. Some farms and farmers will sell preserves, honey, or baked goods during the holidays to help with off-season income, which is worth purchasing if you can. You may also be able to purchase from a local fisherman or rancher, depending on where you live. As you’re preparing to brine your turkey or whip together a pumpkin pie, don’t forget to send your thanks to your local food producer. Without them, it would be a pretty bare holiday table.
  • Support Sustainable Seafood: are you celebrating the holidays with the Italian tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes? Or perhaps simply planning on offering fish or seafood on your holiday table? There are plenty of sustainable options that will both please a hungry crowd and help to protect the world’s fish populations. While shopping, you can always check with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide or feature one of these tried and true recipes from our collection. If you’re dining out for the holidays, our Smart Catch program makes it easy to identify restaurants with sustainable offerings.
  • Be Kind to Your Local Restaurant Staff: for many, the holidays are a fun and festive time of year, but for some it can be anxiety inducing and draining. While it’s a given to be kind to everyone you meet, sometimes waitstaff, chefs, line cooks, and others in service or hospitality industry are overlooked in their effort to be accommodating to guests and diners. There are organizations like I Got Your Back that are working hard to bring awareness to and reduce the stigma around mental health, and make care available for those who are seeking it. If you’re a diner, please always be kind to your local restaurant staff, and recognize that the holidays can be a difficult time. If you work in the industry and know someone who might need additional help, please refer to IGYB for resources and more information.

Let us know if you have other ways to make the holidays more delicious, diverse, and sustainable around your table. Tag us this season at @beardfoundation on Instagram and Twitter and show us how you’re creating and enjoying #goodfoodforgood.

This holiday season, please consider making a donation to support the James Beard Foundation’s work on #goodfoodforgood. The Impact programs advance our mission to create a more diverse, sustainable and delicious food system.


Ashley Kosiak is Impact Programs manager at JBF. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.