Jenny Kurzweil

Selected Works

Nonfiction
A celebration of the farmers who grow our food. “...engaging... a stirring testament...”
--Seattle P-I

Fields that Dream:
A Journey to the Roots
of Our Food

Fields that Dream explores the lives of refugees, immigrants, former chefs, insurance brokers, and union organizers who are now small-scale sustainable farmers. Each chapter of the book combines the story of a farmer who sells at a successful farmers market with a social/​cultural history of agriculture in the United States. Although based in Seattle, the farmer's stories resonate on a national level as they speak about expansion and conventional agriculture. Ultimately, Fields that Dream is a celebration of community and shows how small-scale farmers work to bridge the ever-widening gap between rural and urban areas.

100% of the royalties from the book go toward The Neighborhood Farmers’ Market Alliance and the PCC Farmland Fund.

"Jenny Kurzweil has opened a window on where our food comes from, on how much our food system has changed over the years, and--most important--on who grows our food and why."
--Marion Nestle, Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, and author of Food Politics.

"I enjoyed reading Fields that Dream. Some of us think that food comes from the grocery store, or from the person who hands it to us at a restaurant. But as author Jenny Kurzweil makes clear, there are thousands of human stories written into each bite we eat. The more I read her engaging book, the more reality and depth I experienced in my relationship to food."
--John Robbins, author of Diet For A New America, The Food Revolution, and the upcoming Healthy At 100.

“Fields that Dream weaves the compelling stories of a diverse array of small-scale sustainable farmers with a surprisingly readable socio-political history of the current state of American agriculture. Through candid conversations with farmers from Seattle’s University District Farmers’ Market, Kurzweil explores the joys and hardships of farming, leaving the reader with a profound respect for the dedication of people struggling to reconnect with the land and the origins of our food.”
--YES! A Journal of Positive Futures

“In the pages of Fields that Dream, Jenny Kurzweil shares the stories of small-scale farmers in the Seattle area who are ‘growing food in a better way.’ There is a lot to like in this book, which aims to explain what drives farmers ‘to eke out a living from the soil, what they fight against, and what they believe in.’”
--Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development

“Need some inspiration to get out and grow some food or, heck, start a farm? A compilation of 12 farmer’s stories (and one market manager’s), Jenny Kurzweil’s Fields that Dream: A Journey to the Roots of Our Food, is basically a letter of appreciation to the small-scale, sustainable vendors from Seattle’s University District Farmers’ Market. Though only a couple of the profiled farmers make the career sound easy, they all express a sincerity, passion and work ethic that will make the reader wish all jobs were as rewarding and vital.

Kurzweil first realized the absurd immensity of the global food distribution system while working as a line cook in Vermont. They received carrots from Salinas, strawberries from Watsonville--both a stone’s throw from her native Pacific Grove 3000 miles away; the chef told her that when he worked in a Caribbean restaurant they got strawberries from Watsonville, too. Upon moving to Seattle, she fell in love with the farmers market, became friends with the vendors, and concurrently began to learn more about how food is grown and distributed in the United States.

The bountiful stands of colorful, organic produce and the personal interactions at the market provided a measure of hope for Kurzweil as she delved deeper into the intricacies of corporate monocrop agriculture. The stories she shares reflect this, striking a healthy balance between the bad reality and the good one. So as the reader learns about Jeffersonian democracy, inhumane dairy farming, Hmong refugees, the history of mobile home parks, the WTO, GMOs, farm subsidies, topsoil loss, radioactive soil, fast food, the politics of Mexican immigration, and the illusion of diversity in corporate 'organic' farming, Kurzweil never fails to offer the sustainable counterbalance. The future of food looks better after reading about a program that gets homeless teenagers horticulture jobs, a dairy on Bainbridge Island where the goats are named after characters from Jane Austin novels, multi-generational Hmong families kept together through ties to the land, a prosperous sprout farm operating out of a mobile home, and a several other diverse, inspiring true tales...”
--HopeDance Magazine