The library offers lessons on community, gardening

Library and Three Rivers Education Foundation team up to donate 2,000 copies of Paul Fleischman’s ‘Seedfolks’

FARMINGTON — During the month of April, the Farmington Public Library will donate 2,000 copies of a book on 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 someone else,” said Jenny Lee Ryan, program coordinator for the public library.

The little book, “Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, doesn’t look intimidating, but library director Karen McPheeters says it has a powerful message that can reach a wide audience of readers. “Seedfolks” tells the story of a vacant lot filled with garbage that transforms into a community garden. The structure of the book features 13 different voices, including those of immigrants. Fleischman will appear at the library at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 24.

The series will include a presentation by Ryan Schwochert, a member of the Helena, Montana Community Garden Board. He will discuss the lessons he has learned about caring for, managing and growing community garden space at a 6:30 p.m. event on Thursday, April 20. Schwochert will also be leading a workshop on garden activism at 10 a.m. on April 21.

However, the library doesn’t just look at community gardens from a literal perspective. At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, economist Mark Lautman will discuss the modern business climate and building careers. Later this month, Phillip Crump, a professional mediator, will lead a workshop for nonprofits at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 13 on surviving in unpredictable times. He will also give a presentation at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday April 12 on lessons from the book “Seedfolks”.

In addition to these events, the On Common Ground series also examines where people come from. Former Farmington Police Department Deputy Chief Keith McPheeters, who is also the library director’s brother, will discuss family history research 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. 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 Engaging Latino Communities for Education program at San Juan College.

“We have to recognize that they are part of our community,” said Karen McPheeters.

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