This week in class we read aloud the book SEEDFOLKS by David Fleischman. I had both crews so there were 16 men for 6 books. Woops. Need to buy more books. They took turns reading and sharing. Many of them declined to read, others read more than once. SEEDFOLKS is a “read aloud in 2 hours” kind of book. The book is fiction and has 13 chapters written through the eyes of 13 different people, young, old, male, female, white, black, Asian, Hispanic, Indian, Jewish … who all stumble upon an abandoned lot in Cleveland and turn it into a thriving community garden. I chose it for class because it is easy to read and easily understood. The characters are witty, honest, earnest and real. They discuss racist feelings, teen pregnancy, drugs, violence, sadness, loneliness, prejudices, and most of all the joys and healing of gardening.
The prison garden is considered a community garden so we are able to get seeds and compost from the City of Boston each spring via the Boston Natural Areas Network (BNAN). Right about now we order several truck loads of compost to be delivered in April. We get all kinds of seeds too and the BNAN always throws in some seeds we did not ask for. One year it was gorgeous orange marigolds.
SEEDFOLKS is a great read this time of year. It provides hope of spring, glimpses of green images and the assurance of the goodness of community gardening.