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.


2 thoughts on “SEEDFOLKS

  1. I am reserving it at the library at this sitting…so cool. Do you do raised beds? Any good read or ideas about raised beds, turning my sunny front yard into food this spring.

  2. Bridget,

    Hope you like the book. If you like that you might also like the movie THE GARDEN ( Very powerful.

    We do not use raised beds at the Pre Release Center. We have multiple gardens (herb, perennial, annual, cutting, fruit, vegetable) and raised beds would limit our space. In a small front yard garden raised beds might keep you organized and tidy.

    One book I love and use often is Country Living’s Kitchen Garden Planner ( It is designed for small home gardens with illustrations that inspire and plans that help you lay it out and make it happen! I also suggest to any gardener to subscribe to Organic Gardening Magazine ( These may be available at your library also.

    Enjoy, thanks for you input and keep reading!

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