Library and Three Rivers Education Foundation teaming up to give away 2,000 copies of 'Seedfolks' by Paul Fleischman

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FARMINGTON — During the month of April, the Farmington Public Library will give away 2,000 copies of a book dealing with the subject of community gardens as part of its On Common Ground series.

The books were purchased by the Three Rivers Education Foundation, which is partnering with the library for the series.

"The idea is to read it and then pass it on to somebody else," said Jenny Lee Ryan, program coordinator for the public library.

The small book, "Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, does not look intimidating, but library Director Karen McPheeters said it has a powerful message that can reach a broad reader audience. "Seedfolks" relates the story of a vacant lot filled with garbage that is transformed into a community garden. The book's structure features 13 different voices, including those of immigrants. Fleischman will appear at the library at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 24.

The series will feature a presentation by Ryan Schwochert, a member of the Helena, Mont., community gardens board. He will discuss lessons he has learned about maintaining, managing and growing community garden space during an event at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 20. Schwochert also will lead a garden activism workshop at 10 a.m. April 21.

However, the library is not only viewing community gardens from a literal standpoint. At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, economist Mark Lautman will address the modern business climate and building careers. Later in the month, Phillip Crump, a professional mediator, will lead a workshop for nonprofit organizations at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 13 about surviving during unpredictable times. He will also give a presentation at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12 about lessons from the book "Seedfolks."

In addition to these events, the On Common Ground series also looks at where people come from. Former Farmington Police Department Deputy Chief Keith McPheeters, who is also the brother of the library director, will discuss researching family history at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 27.

Another event that examines people's origins is an immigrant panel. Several local residents will tell their immigrant stories at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the library. Two of the immigrants — Josey Foo and Lourdes Valencia — have been undocumented in the past. Both Foo and Valencia are now citizens of the United States. Foo works as the executive director of the New Beginnings program at the Navajo United Methodist Center while Valencia works for the San Juan College Engaging Latino Communities for Education program.

"We need to recognize that they're part of our community," Karen McPheeters said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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