With liberty, justice, and locally produced food for all

  • Fields That Dream

  "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."

Fields that 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."

All royalties from the book go toward The Neighborhood Farmer’s Market Alliance, which supports small farms and farming families in Washington state.

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