Benevilla sees continued growth of the Surprise Community Garden as the City of Surprise District 4 Councilman, Ken Remley made a generous donation of $2,000 to the garden from his council discretionary fund. Mr. Remley stated at the ceremony, “I appreciate all the hard work they (Benevilla garden volunteers) do for the community and look forward to what the future holds.”
The Surprise Community Garden, opened in 2012, is a “Community for All Ages” (CFAA) program led by Benevilla in partnership with the City of Surprise and Rio Salado College. On any given day it is bustling with activity as gardeners tend to the wide assortment of vegetables growing in their beds or the multitude of fruit trees scattered throughout the garden area. “Thank You to Councilman Remley for his continued support of the garden and the Benevilla mission in the community, “ said Benevilla President and CEO, Joanne Thomson.
The Surprise Community Garden serves as an important space for area residents, children, and local organizations to learn about growing organic food in a desert environment. Individuals and groups can rent their own garden bed to grow produce for themselves or to donate to local food banks. Currently, there are gardeners working 32 raised-soil beds which are built at a height friendly to young children and wheelchair-bound gardeners. The beds are available for a year in either a 20’ by 8’ or 10’ by 6’ size. The groups tending the beds range from local residents and students from Dysart Schools to the children of Wirtzie’s Preschool and Daycare.
The gated and fenced garden is lined with many varieties of mature citrus and shade trees including a highly prized and unique Yuzu Orange used in some of the most expensive candies. “It is amazing what can be grown in an 8′ x 20′ raised bed,” says Garden Volunteer Coordinator, Linda Cabrera. “All year long we are harvesting everything from huge, snow white cauliflower heads to red, ripe tomatoes and a delicious assortment of herbs and spices.” “Today there are a few garden beds open and available on a first come basis.” To find out about available garden beds, please call Benevilla at 623-584-4999.