“Seedfolks” for Community Read – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

“Seedfolks” for Community Read

Paul Fleischman’s award-winning book, “Seedfolks,” has been selected by Geneva Reads for the fourth annual Community Read in March. During the month-long celebration, Geneva Reads will host a series of film screenings, lectures and discussions to address the topics of food, labor issues and community.

Fleischman’s book, which received the American Library Association’s Best Book for Young Adults Award and the Buckeye Children’s Book Award, tells the story of an ethnically-diverse community that comes together to garden.  The story is narrated by an ethnically diverse cast of characters living in the Gibb Street neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. Transformed by the actions of Kim, a young Vietnamese girl who plants a few lima beans in an abandoned lot, the neighborhood begins to turn the littered lot into a garden for the whole community.

The month-long celebration will kick off during the Annual Book Fest, which offers kids the change to “Dig Into a Good Book” from 12:30 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 3 at the Geneva Community Center. While there, children can stop by the Community Read booth to “Plant a Seed for the Community Read!”

Another highlight of the celebration includes: a Books n’ Brunch event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 10, at the College Store on St. Clair Street. Participants can enjoy a discussion of the book and a 25 percent discount on the purchase of “Seedfolks.” Refreshments will be served and 20 percent store wide discount will be offered.

Over the course of the month, the Community Read will present three films, including “Food, Inc.” on Thursday, March 8, at 7 p.m.; a recorded interview with renowned New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman on Sunday, March 11, at 2 p.m.; and the “The Garden” on Thursday, March 22, at 7 p.m. All films will be shown at the Smith Opera House. General admission is $5, with a reduced rate of $3 for seniors and college students. Children grades 12 and under are free.

Additionally, the series will host several Coffee & Conversation events, which will give participants the opportunity to interact with speakers and discuss issues in a more informal, relaxed atmosphere. The first event, on Friday, March 9, invites community members to weigh in on the risks and benefits of agricultural biotechnology with Cornell University professors who work at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES) at 8 p.m. in the Geneva Public Library. On Thursday, March 15, participants can hear published poets Lori Nolasco, Patricia Roth Schwartz and Roberta Panek read from their own works about gardening, growing things and the bounty of the earth at 7 p.m. in the Geneva Public Library.  During the third event on Wednesday, March 21, participants can discuss the many health benefits of gardening with retired FLCC horticulture professor Jana Lamboy at 7 p.m. at the Geneva Community Center. Providing participants with an opportunity to see agriculture in action, the final event will take place on March 24 at NYSAES, where Susan Brown and Kevin Maloney will present information about the Cornell apple breeding program at 11 a.m. at NYSAES, which is located at 630 W. North St.

Rounding out the community discussions, Hobart and William Smith Colleges will host Dr. Edgar S. Cahn on Tuesday, March 27. Regarded as the father of poverty law, Cahn is the founder of TimeBanks USA – a banking system founded on the principal of Time Dollars, the world’s only tax-exempt currency, in which community members “bank” the time they have committed to helping others in exchange for the services they need (such as home repair, child care, tutoring, etc.). During his day-long presence in Geneva, Cahn will interact with the community during three events.

The first, the final Coffee & Conversation event, will facilitate discussion between Cahn and Geneva Exchange TimeBank members at 8 a.m. at the Geneva Community Center. At noon, Cahn will join community members for lunch at the Geneva Neighborhood Resource Center, located at 105 Seneca St., where he will discuss ideas and possibilities for Time Banking in Geneva’s neighborhoods. Finally, at 7 p.m., Cahn will address the community about engaged citizenship in a talk titled “Co-Producing Justice and Cultivating Community: Time Banking and System Change” in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.

The month-long Community Read will end in collaboration with the 5th Annual Festival of Nations hosted by Geneva Schools and Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The event, which celebrates the many international cultures represented in the local community, will take place on Saturday, March 31 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Geneva High School.

The Community Read is sponsored by Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva Public Library, Geneva Community Center, Geneva City School District, DeSales High School, and St. Stephen’s and St. Francis Schools, Geneva Neighborhood Resource Center, The Smith Opera House, Geneva Exchange TimeBank, Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station, and the Geneva Human Rights Commission.

For more information about the Geneva Reads Community Read, please visit genevareads.org.

In the photo above, HWS President Mark D. Gearan helps promote the 2012 Community Read of “Seedfolks.”