"Injustice is part of every meal we eat," writes Jenny Kurzweil in Fields that Dream: A Journey to the Roots of Our Food. In each chapter, Kurzweil tells the story of an organic farmer, fieldworker or marketer based in the Pacific Northwest, illustrating how injustice might be diminished by purchasing food from local and socially conscious producers. Information on global corporate food production supplements each story. Her epigraph cites Wes Jackson: "Since our break with nature came with agriculture, it seems fitting that the healing of culture begin with agriculture."
Dream takes an impressively researched step toward such
healing. Farmer Andrew Stout, for example, emphasizes the need to
pay workers well, in contrast to most agribusinesses, which offer
migrant workers little and often fail to protect them from
pesticide-induced illness. "Most Americans don’t care about
food, they don’t see beyond the cash register," he says.
Dairy farmers Steve and Beverly Phillips refuse to dole
out antibiotics as a preventative measure. This is unusual in the
livestock industry, where annually "25 million pounds of
antibiotics are administered … for purposes other than
treating disease." These and other statistics — "since the
1950s, the world has lost nearly one-fifth of its topsoil" —
shock and depress, but Kurzweil remains hopeful. "We can truly be
part of the movement that supports sustainable and locally grown
food. In a world where we often feel helpless and overwhelmed,
remember that ultimately, we hold the power, for in a market
economy it is the consumers who have the final say."
royalties from the book go toward The Neighborhood Farmer’s
Market Alliance, which supports small farms and farming families in
With liberty, justice, and locally produced food for all
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