Tips for Giving This Thanksgiving

Daron "Farmer D" Joffe

What better harvest celebration is there but Thanksgiving? If you garden or will spend the holiday with someone who does, you may get to enjoy home-grown versions of traditional favorites like mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, green beans with slivered nuts, fresh salads, and, perhaps, even the star of the table himself.

Sharing what we've grown, however, is only one way to share the "garden of your life" this Thanksgiving. Here are some others:

1. Consider inviting those in your office "family" to your feast, especially if they are alone for the holiday. You may be surprised to discover that even people who come from large, close families may be alone due to the expense or difficulty of traveling. Introducing your workday friends to your family in this fashion is a great way to share the bounty of our ever-changing relationships.

2. Let others invite a friend as well. Just as gardens change with the seasons, so do the seasons of life, and therefore, the people around us. The teen boyfriend, the new neighbor, and the childhood friend your mom just found on Facebook may add new energy to your gathering, especially if someone from your family is newly missing this year. No, you can't ever replace that person who is no longer there, but you can grow in new directions as a family.

3. Share beyond your table. Bring a prized dish to the office to enjoy with your co-workers. Or, how about donating excess harvests to your local food pantry? Herbs such as rosemary and sage are very popular with food-pantry clients, especially during the holidays, when many food pantries give out turkeys. Also, if your community garden accepts composted food scraps, consider offering yours--just be sure not to put meats or fats in it.

4. Leave out some bird seed, or perhaps some old sunflower heads, for our feathered friends so that you share with our larger ecosystem as well.

5. As you all sit together to break bread and share a special meal, remember to share stories too. You may be pleasantly surprised to see how gardening creates common bonds when your oldest guests talk about America's Victory Garden program and your youngest guests discuss their school gardens!

Tap in next week when I tell you the surprising ways you can really get a workout in a garden.

Hungry for more? Write to with your questions, concerns, and feedback.

Daron Joffe is a 30-something eco-entrepreneur who lives to make a difference in the world one homegrown organic fruit and vegetable at a time. Known as "Farmer D," Joffe has grown food for celebrities, private communities, and elementary schools in his "town-by-town mission to re-energize the food culture." His products are sold at select Whole Foods and Williams-Sonoma stores. Born in South Africa and based in Atlanta, Farmer D is online at