Fields of Vision : A Journey to the Canada's Family Farms
McClelland & Stewart/Tundra Books, Toronto, 1991
ISBN 10: 077104402X
ISBN 13: 9780771044021
Fields of Vision is a book filled with touching moments and simple eloquence. It finds its strength in the powerfully ordinary lives of Canadian farmers.
– Harrowsmith Country Life
“An important book, for it gives farmers a voice they have long been denied.”
– Globe and Mail
In 1988 – a year of drought and disastrous harvests – Phil Jenkins and Ken Ginn set out in a blue van to find the easternmost farm in Canada and drive through all the intervening fields to the westernmost farm, talking to family farmers as they went. They were on a journey to discover what happens to farming – and to all of us – when the “culture” in agriculture becomes business. Like the sun, Fields of Vision rises in the east and sets in the west, and it is the story of that journey – in Jenkins’ words and Ginn’s photographs. It is a rare and delightful portrait of the people who grow the food we eat, and do so in the face of capricious weather, crippling interest rates and callous bank policies. In conversations held over kitchen tables, or in the fields as Jenkins and Ginn helped to clear away rocks or fit rafters on a new barn, the farmers talked freely. They spoke of their fierce loyalty to the land, their fights to stop the banks from foreclosing, and what the “family” in the phrase “family farm” really means. And they did indeed find a vision, a stubborn vision of fields as living land, not potential real estate.
Jenkins brings to this story a wry sense of humour and a profound sympathy from the beleaguered family farmer. His quirky sensibility and incisive turn of phrase elicit both tears and laughter as we travel the country with him, meeting those rare people who stubbornly cling to their arms out of love of the land and their work upon it. His compelling words and Ginn’s stunning photographs together give face and personality to the anonymous men and women whose efforts are too often forgotten among the aisles of Canada’s food stores.