Gracias por los Campesinos

It's that time of the year again. Shorter days, colder nights and the realization that yet another year is slipping away.

For those of us who clutch to whatever hope we can find, it's also the time to begin thinking about all the promises ahead for 2008. To help mark the months, calendars that inspire and move me are a basic necessity. How else to make the wall over my desk a place for change rather then an endless list of tasks?

For the third year in a row, I'm ordering a copy of Celia Roberts' wonderful calendar celebrating farm workers across the country. Fully bilingual with Spanish and English text, this year's calendar, Gracias por los Campesinos, describes the daily labor of immigrants with honesty, respect and quiet gratitude.

Next year's calendar is especially close to my heart, for Celia came to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market while I was still teaching in the kitchen there. She helped me welcome the women from Las Salsitas the day they demonstrated recipes from their cookbook, and while she was there, she snapped a photo of Carl Rosato from Woodleaf Farm. If you flip to December in the 2008 calendar, you'll see him helping some customers as they pick out peaches at his booth.

Every year's calendar has a different visual theme, but the feeling is always the same: thanking community members for their valuable contributions. One of my favorites was last year's collection of photographs, Gracias por los Abuelos, when Celia honored grandparents.

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I highly recommend this year's calendar for offices or kitchens where eating and cooking has become the mere stuff of work. It's a warm reminder of the faces and lives and stories that bring us our food.

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