Saturday, July 10, 2010

Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman

I received this book in the mail about six hours ago as a gift from my dear friend, Debi. I read it about three hours ago, and now I have to share it with all of you because it's just so wonderful. In just 102 pages, this book packs so much love and inspiration and awesomeness that I'm surprised that I hadn't heard of it before now. I'm surprised it's not better known. Maybe it is and I've just been left out of the loop! A young girl named Kim decides one day to plant some beans in a lot in her neighborhood that is full of trash, old furniture, debris and just junk. She does it as an homage to her deceased Vietnamese father who she never knew. Kim lives in a neighborhood that is not the best of neighborhoods, but it has one thing going for it - it's culturally diverse. Unfortunately, no one takes the time to get to know one another. A woman sees Kim planting her beans but thinks she's up to know good...until she goes down to investigate and finds not drugs or weapons, but bean sprouts! Which leads her to clean her own space in the lot and start her own garden with the help of a neighbor. Soon, we see the lot transformed from a junk heap into a garden ripe with vegetables and flowers and fruits. And in doing this, a community begins to form as well. People who can't even speak English can at least communicate by sharing their gardens with each other, the fruits of their labor. All races come together here. And each chapter is told from the perspective of a different person in the community. We get a different tale with each chapter. This book is such a little gift. It truly is. It's something that can easily be read in one sitting and something that I can see reading again and again. In the afterword of the book, Fleischman says he was inspired to write this book by an article he read in a journal about a psychotherapist that does counseling through gardening and I thought that that was just so wonderful. Gardening truly can be so therapeutic. Especially community gardening like this where it brings people together. I'm actually reading an article right now in a new magazine called Urban Farm (awesome magazine, check it out next time you're at B&N) about gardening increasing people's mental health and it's been shown that gardening increases people's happiness. I know it's helped me quite a bit...especially with the summer funks I tend to get in. I wish we had community gardens down here in New Orleans. We do have a lot of community building events down here and I think that as a community, New Orleanians are pretty tight...but we could always use more. Seedfolks is a prime example, in my opinion, of why every neighborhood should have a community garden. It not only provides nutrition and economical benefits to families, but it truly brings people together. I know my neighborhood has changed so much just since I was a kid. Everyone used to talk to each other when I was a kid. Now, no one does. And I hear this more and more from other people. When did we stop interacting with each other? And how much fun would it be to start interacting again....over veggies? :) Anyway, I'm off my high horse's what I'll leave you with...GO READ SEEDFOLKS!!! In fact, don't even get this one from the it. It's only $5.99 and it's one you'll read over and over again. And it's such an inspiration. You'll want to own it. And no, I wasn't asked to review this one :p These are just my own feelings about the book.

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