Thanksgiving is at time of sharing with the special people in our lives. A day when the traditionalists, baby boomers, generation X and millennials are all together at one dinner table. What a perfect opportunity to build bridges across the generations by sharing values and reminiscing with the older relatives about how things were done “back in the day.” I have a great way to incorporate an easy game for table talk that everyone can enjoy. The table talk game eliminates any awkward silence and shares memories and hopes for future generations.
The setup is simple. All that has to be done is to cut the questions out and divide them among the older generation, younger generation. There are even questions for the young ones and family members without farm connections. The idea behind the game is to get the entire family thinking about where their food comes from and what it took to get the tasty food from the farm to their dinner table. Enjoy the conversation game and that fabulous Thanksgiving meal!
Young generations could ask a few questions to the more experienced family members:
• If farmers could have done anything differently 50 years ago, what would it have been?
• It costs a lot of money to be a farmer today. What advice do you have for someone who wants to start farming?
• Leaving technology aside, what is the biggest change you’ve seen in farming or agriculture over the years?
• There have been many changes in technology and machinery over the last century. With that in mind, what “go-to” piece of equipment could you not imagine giving up?
Older generations can ask their young whipper-snappers questions like this to get them thinking:
• What impact has new and improved equipment made?
• Biotechnology has made huge advances in yield protection with drought- and virus-resistant crops. How else has biotechnology allowed farmers to produce more crops with less efforts than years ago?
• How has the additional information gained through research helped farmers to use less crop inputs and conserve soil and water?
• If you had lived 20 or more years ago, how would farming have been different?
A few questions for everyone at the table:
• How many farmers do you know? What are some ways you could connect with a farmer or find out more about farming?
• Which crops from the dinner came from the farthest location? Where do you think that would that be?
• Pick one food item from the Thanksgiving dinner menu and figure out which crops had to be planted to produce the item you are sharing.
• If you could personally thank farmers, how would you express your appreciation for the food on your table?
• If only one crop could be planted…What crop would you choose and why?
We at Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation want to say a heartfelt thank you to all of the farmers that have helped Americans enjoy such quality of life. We also want to thank all of the individuals that take the time to share their agricultural legacy with the next generations, so that many years from now young farmers will understand the journey that was traveled to allow them to do the work they have come to love.