West Valley, AZ – Volunteers from Benevilla, the West Valley’s premier human services nonprofit, have been tending to a quiet surprise in the City of Surprise for almost 7 years – the Surprise Community Garden. The garden, which 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.
This 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. There are currently 100 gardeners working the raised beds, which are built at a height friendly to young children and wheelchair-bound gardeners. They grow fruits and vegetables for our families, our neighbors and our community.
Volunteers who run the garden, led by Garden Coordinator Linda Cabrera, don’t want this to be the best-kept secret any longer. The Surprise Community Garden is open for public tours for three dates in February: Wednesday, February 13th, from 9AM to 10AM; Monday, February 18th, from 10AM to 11AM; and again Sunday, February 24th, from 2PM to 3PM. So, mark your calendars to see the wonderful things springing up in your community garden. A schedule for the remainder of spring will be available soon.
“Come and see the pride of Surprise,” invites Linda. “Several times a year, local community organizations and generous citizens harvest, clean and bag hundreds of pounds of organically grown cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and more from our designated ‘Hunger Bed,’ one of 34 raised-soil beds in the garden, to donate to local food shelters.”
The Surprise Community Garden is a volunteer-driven program located at the Benevilla Campus in the Hellen and John M. Jacobs Independence Plaza, 16752 N Greasewood St., Surprise, AZ, 85374. Please contact Dan Hoyt, Community Garden Outreach Coordinator, at 817.797.8821 with any questions. More information is available on the garden’s Facebook page, “Surprise Community Garden – CFFA.”
Started by the community and for the community in 1981, Benevilla is a not-for-profit human services agency dedicated to enhancing the lives of West Valley residents by providing care services for older adults, intellectually disabled adults, children and families. For more information on services, volunteer opportunities, to take a tour or make a donation to Benevilla, call 623-584-4999 or visit www.benevilla.org