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Phoenix Society breaks ground on Surrey’s newest Community Garden

From left, Phoenix Society founders Michael and Ann Wilson, Mindy Sidhu (Assistance Vice President of Retail Banking, Envision Financial), Phoenix CEO Keir Macdonald and Surrey Councillor Laurie Guerra officially broke ground at the Phoenix Community Garden on July 21.

In our continuous effort to innovate and build community, Phoenix Society is developing a community garden on vacant City of Surrey-owned property.

To be leased to the Society, the lot at 13951 100th Ave. is adjacent to Phoenix’s existing Social Innovation Centre. The Society broke ground on the garden on July 21, and the site’s grand opening is anticipated for early this fall. The project will be a mixed-use garden, comprised of 3 large planters, 14 small planters and 5 accessible planters in raised beds. A mix of fruit and nut producing trees will also be planted around the edges of the garden.


A sandbox for children, harvest table and paved flex space is included in the design. Envisioned is a mixed-use garden and a shared community asset; with 50% of plots tended to by Phoenix participants, and the rest will be available to local community members and organizations to help increase food security and enhance access to nutritious fruits and vegetables, with outdoor farming allowing for social distancing. The garden will also host targeted programming for those who are marginalized, including those in recovery, living in poverty, seniors, and unhoused individuals.

The Phoenix Community Garden is seen as a joint collaboration of the Phoenix Society along with Surrey citizens and the City of Surrey. Located on lands adjacent to existing common walking trails in a greenway, the gardens were strategically designed for social inclusion as a widely welcoming community engagement space to facilitate community connection, dialogue and exchange through a variety of activities and events including community meetings, educational classes, farmer’s markets where garden produce would be shared, celebrations of artistic works by local community artisans and musicians, and talks by gardeners and food sustainability leaders.

A Community Garden Advisory Team (CGAT) will be established that will include marginalized individuals from the community to help guide the garden’s programming, which will be tailored toward those who are vulnerable in our community. This CGAT will guide the decision-making and delivery of the garden. “Spending time with others in a safe and supportive environment, being active outdoors and bringing home healthy produce harvested from the garden not only increases food security but strengthens our community and even provides positive mental health outcomes,” said Keir Macdonald, Phoenix Society CEO.

“This project has been years in the making and would not have been possible without our amazing funding and community partners. Thank you for your support, and for helping see this project through to fruition,” Macdonald added.

Phoenix Society would like to acknowledge the support of the City of Surrey, which has committed $100,000 to the Community Garden project.

“Surrey is proud to support this Community Garden project, which promotes and supports a healthy community, while engaging vulnerable groups in our city” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. “Everyone deserves access to fresh and healthy food, and this initiative will support those who need it most, for many years to come. Thank-you to everyone who has been involved in bringing this community garden to life.”

The Envision Financial Community Endowment with the First West Foundation has committed $100,000 to the project over four years to support with ongoing operating funds required to maximize the potential of this public amenity.

“We applaud the work of Phoenix Society and its innovative approach to bringing people together in Surrey,” said Susan Byrom, First West Foundation Executive Director. “We have been passionate about food security programs for more than ten years through our signature cause, The Full Cupboard. The community garden, with its planned partnerships and programs, will increase access to vital food resources, whilst also introducing Phoenix Society’s residents and the citizens of Surrey to the benefits of gardening and growing their own food.”

Project goals:

  • Provide fresh produce to Phoenix Society and community participants;
  • Help community members learn gardening practices
  • Turn a vacant lot into a productive piece of land to increase food security; and
  • Provide a place for strengthening relationships in the community.

Phoenix Society Media Contact Amy Reid | [email protected] | 604.726.6107

About the Phoenix Society: Since 1989, Phoenix Society has grown from an idea, to its first programs and is now a multi-faceted, integrated service provider that offers a variety of programs and support services, helping residents and program participants achieve positive outcomes in their lives. A key purpose of the Surrey-based Society is to provide housing and support services for people at multiple entry points on the continuum