Homeless Garden Project
(Homeless Garden Project)
Civic Life

Local stars headline ‘Seedfolks,’ an event to benefit Homeless Garden Project

Dec. 12 virtual reading of Paul Fleischman’s classic community gardening book will feature such star readers as Justin Cummings, Donna Meyers, Mike Ryan, and Jonathan Franzen.

Can you create a more Santa Cruz-style event than the Dec. 12 virtual reading to benefit the Homeless Garden Project?

On that date, Santa Cruz’s outgoing mayor and its newly elected mayor — along with Santa Cruz’s most prominent literary figure, the director of its celebrated Shakespeare festival and other well-known locals — will come together to read from a classic text about community gardening, written by an award-winning long-time Santa Cruz resident, all to benefit the archetypal Santa Cruz community effort.

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“Cultivating Growth with Seedfolks” features several well-known voices to read from the classic 1997 novella Seedfolks by acclaimed Monterey Bay author Paul Fleischman, a story of a diverse group of neighbors all coming together to transform an empty city lot into a community garden.

Justin Cummings, mayor of Santa Cruz until this week, will lead a roster of readers that includes new mayor Donna Meyers; literary icon (and Westside resident) Jonathan Franzen; actor and Santa Cruz Shakespeare artistic director Mike Ryan; the city’s Parks and Rec Director Tony Elliot; and San Jose State faculty member and social worker Blanca Tavera.

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Also on hand will be Fleischman, the prolific novelist, poet and playwright who has lived around the Monterey Bay for most of his life. In 1989, Fleischman won the prestigious Newbery Medal for children’s literature two years after his father Sid Fleischman won the award, becoming the first multi-generational winners.

Tickets to the virtual event — Saturday, Dec. 12 at 3 p.m. — are $25 (though ticket buyers can watch the event any time after its Saturday premiere). For a $95 ticket, donors will receive a gift package featuring bread, cookie mix, jam, and other goodies. Proceeds will go to benefit the Homeless Garden Project.

Holiday revelers can buy tickets online and experience the light show at the fairgrounds without getting out of the car.