Seeds of Transformation Garden Party

Mar 7, 2017

Great food in an outstanding location is a lure for charity-goers and the Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy has nailed it for this year’s Seeds of Transformation benefit.

On April 29, Chef Bruce Kalman of the highly praised Union Restaurant provides guests with a buffet of northern Italian cuisine. Union’s spaghetti “must be some of the best in town” writes Kevin of KevinEats and Pulitzer Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold writes,

There are advantages to the craft food movement.… But you may not be expecting the suppleness of the lightly cured California-salmon crudo, the deep flavor of the guanciale broth in which the mussels were steamed, the elegant crispness of a salad of radish, shaved asparagus and walnuts, or the hardcore Italian grandmother vibe of the meatballs, which are enhanced with caper berries and lardo but taste like something that could have come out of a four-hour Sunday gravy. The great vegetables, you can take for granted. The touch of Italian soul, you cannot.
—”Pasadena’s Union Is Not Your Same Ol’ Old Town” by Jonathan Gold, L. A. Times, 2014


Photo: Union Restaurant


Chef Bruce Kalman


From the USC Greene & Greene Virtual Archives:

Laurabelle Arms Robinson, heiress to a Youngstown, Ohio, iron fortune, married attorney Henry M. Robinson, protegé of her uncle, David Tod Ford. For the Robinsons, the Greenes designed a residence, its furniture, lighting fixtures, leaded art-glass, metalwork, and landscaping. Plans were prepared in August 1905. The landscape plan was orchestrated to give ceremony to the approach to the house. The house is not the elaborate lodge of split shakes and boulders that one might have expected based on the Greenes’ work to date, but it is instead an imposing mass of stucco and half-timbering.


The Robinson House. Photo source:


Combine the fruits from this respected chef with the artistry of The Robinson House—lovingly restored and renovated by the current owners, Phaedra and Mark Ledbetter—and we believe it will produce a rare and delectable evening.

Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy’s Seeds of Transformation benefit raises money to help Pasadena’s community gardens and to provide nutritional education in northwest Pasadena.


Seeds of Transformation
Saturday, April 29, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Robinson House, 195 S. Grand Ave., Pasadena 91105
Individual tickets are $150, two tickets, $250; purchase here.
For all details, visit


The Robinson House, entrance. Photo:


The Robinson House:
Commissioned in 1905 by lawyer and financier Henry Robinson and his wife, Laurabelle. Mr. Robinson was instrumental in developing the Huntington Library, California Institute of Technology, and the Mount Palomar Observatory. He was also a domestic and international advisor for 30 years to presidents Wilson, Coolidge, and Hoover. President Herbert Hoover was a frequent over-night guest at the Robinson House. Robinson was also responsible for bringing Einstein to California. Among other notable positions, Robinson was also the first chairman of the trustees of the Huntington Library after Henry Huntington’s death. The Robinson house was designed by architects Greene and Greene and was contracted by Peter Hall.

Phaedra and Mark Ledbetter purchased the dilapidated estate in 1998, and lived in the carriage house during the 6 1/2 year restoration. The house looks west over the Arroyo Seco with incredible sunset views of the historic Colorado Street Bridge and San Gabriel Mountains.
—Text courtesy of Phaedra Ledbetter at


The Robinson House, dining room. Photo:


Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy:
The 30-plus community leaders who created the Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy in 2012 were influenced by Dr. Eric Walsh, our city’s Director of Public Health, in focusing our philanthropy on our city’s “food desert” areas (as shown in the map above).  These areas have a scarcity of grocery stores and an abundance of fast-food and convenience stores, and they tend to be densely populated with lower-income, minority residents.
—Pasadena CGC

PCGC finances food gardens while also providing technical support and volunteers for these gardens in the effort to create healthier eating habits and healthier families in northwest Pasadena. One such garden is at the Villa Parke Community Center.


Photo Credit: Dana P. Bouton, DPB Photography



Photo: DPB Photography


Photo: DPB Photography


Photo: DPB Photography


Photo: DPB Photography





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