From the Fields to the Shelves, Thank You

A small moment to say thank you to the nation's farmers, who work hard in the fields each and every day to put food on the table. Who are undercut by horrible trade deals and work for years in debt. Who are never respected, looked down upon, and seen as a relic this nation needs to move on from.

When your supermarket is empty you kind of appreciate them a little more.

To those who work in the fields - thank you. Many of you are here without permission because of life and opportunity, and nothing I can say can apologize for how you are treated by the system. You deserve to work and earn a living and be proud citizens I am honored to be neighbors with. I know, don't thank me, fix the system. I hear you. We hear you. This is the next big civil rights battle to fight for fairness, equality, and representation. I promise to be on your side.

To those who process and package the food in the food industry, thank you. To the underpaid, overworked, and often immigrant labor that takes what comes from the farms and creates the food we love, the loaves of bread that make life so easy, the cans of soup, and all of the other shelf-stable and convenient items that once used to line the shelves - thank you.

To the truckers who work long hours, hook up the trailers, pump the gas, obey all the laws and regulations to operate safely, and spend many lonely hours on the roads away from their families - thank you.

To the warehouse workers that take food off the trucks and distribute it at supermarkets around town - thank you. We don't think of all of the different levels these things go through, but every part is important.

And to the grocers who start the day looking at aisle after aisle of empty shelves, piles of boxes and items in the back that need to be put out, and the long shifts stocking, restocking, and then the next day to see more bare shelves and have to do it all over again - thank you.

And to those who work in the bakeries, delis, those who clean the floors, those who keep the produce fresh - thank you. I know it is hard dealing with all of the questions you get, dealing with the fear and telling people "we are out." I hope things get better soon.

And finally, to the cashiers who endlessly ring up overloaded cart after overloaded cart, who are exposed to all sorts of illnesses, who suffer back sprains and repetitive motion injuries, and when the lines stretch to the back of the store and you work all day and want to go home and die - but you come back the next day to do it all over again - thank you for being there.

We can't forget the owners and managers too - they take the financial risks to become a part of a community, and they also put time in on the floor when no one else is available - thank you for building places I am proud to frequent, shop at, and call a part of my home. The people that live where I live work there, and you sign their paychecks and provide their health care - thank you.

I know you are working hard to deal with the panic. You must be up all night making calls and filling orders. The stress, pressure, and hours all up and down the line must be unimaginable. Let's hope by the summer things settle down, going to the store is a fun thing again, and the shelves are full and the great selections again. I know I am looking forward to seeing you all soon.

To everyone who makes this all possible.

Thank you.