Benevilla, the West Valley’s premier human services nonprofit, held a formal dedication at the new entry Kiosk for the Surprise Community Garden located on the Benevilla campus. The event was attended by local dignitaries including Ken Remley, Surprise District 4 Councilmember, Jodi Tas from the Surprise Office of the Mayor and City Council, Brigham Bennett, Building Plans Examiner at City of Surprise and his son Stone Bennett representing Surprise Boy Scout Troop #862.
Councilmember Remley commented: “This is great addition to the community garden and wonderful example of the partnership between Benevilla and the City of Surprise.” This is just the beginning of my plans to expand the value and relevance of this enterprise in the community.”
The event was hosted by Tony Earl, the Surprise Community Garden Liaison for Benevilla. Mr. Earl joined Benevilla as part of the Experience Matters Encore Fellowship program. This program recruits highly skilled, experienced professionals ready to transition from primary careers in the for-profit sector and make a significant impact for nonprofit organizations in need of their talent.
The new Surprise Community Garden Kiosk was developed and financed through a $1,485 grant from the 2016/2017 City of Surprise Neighborhood Grant Program. This program, established in 2015, fosters a special partnership between the City of Surprise and its neighborhoods. It encourages involvement of residents, public and private organizations to support neighborhood-initiated, community building and improvement projects.
The Kiosk project took over a month to complete. A majority of the design and construction work was completed by Benevilla garden volunteers Pol Dano and Patrick Folan as well as members of the Surprise Boy Scout Troop #862.
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. The garden is located on the Benevilla campus at the Hellen & John M. Jacobs Independence Plaza, 16752 N. Greasewood Street near the Surprise Bicentennial Park.
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 plot to grow produce for themselves or to donate to local food banks. There are currently 100 gardeners working 34 raised-soil beds which are built at a height friendly to young children and wheelchair-bound gardeners.
“We are so fortunate to have the City of Surprise and so many local organizations and citizens pulling together to help create this beautiful garden area for local residents,” said Benevilla President and CEO Joanne Thomson. “Benevilla strives to provide a better life experience for our community and our garden is a great environment for everyone!”
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 or to make a donation to Benevilla, call 623-584-4999 or visit http://www.benevilla.org/.