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Residents of Surprise invited to grow their own food

(Facebook Photo)

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- If you've ever wanted to grow your own food but didn't know how to harvest a successful crop, the Surprise Community Garden for All Ages is a great place to start.

Recently, the Surprise City Council approved a grant to support the garden's partnership with Benevilla, a local nonprofit that oversees and supports the garden. They're now expanding the young community garden with 20 new 4x8-raised garden beds that can grow enough produce to feed a family of four.

The garden was created a year ago behind the nonprofit's facility on 16752 N. Greasewood St. It already holds 14 garden beds where gardeners of all ages, from kids to senior citizens, have been harvesting any kind of vegetable.

Trevor O'Neill is one of them.

The Surprise resident has five children, ages 1 to 9, and takes them with him to teach them how to grow their own food.

"It's always fun to bring them down to the garden and tell them, 'We got the new sprouts coming up, that's exciting!'" said O'Neill. "There's nothing to compare it to. It's a blast to see the light on their faces when they see something they were able to create themselves."

O'Neill has had a box at the garden for about four months and already has had his first harvest. He and his kids have planted seeds already for the next crop. He wants to teach them the art of creating something with their own hands.

"They put those seeds in the ground, maybe not always in the right places, but they can take ownership in what they grow," he added.

If you don't have the skills to cultivate your own food, the garden has volunteers to teach you helpful tips.

There's also the opportunity to pay the nominal fee which covers the space and utilities to keep the area, and then donate the space to anyone in need. There's also the option to share the food you grow with other families.

To learn more about the Surprise community garden, contact Benevilla at (623) 584-4999. You can also visit the garden's Facebook page.

About the Author

Martha is the traffic controller in the KTAR newsroom. Her full time role is that of Assignment and Breaking News Editor of KTAR News. She oversees daily Breaking News planning and over-the air execution, and puts together the elements that make it happen. She gathers and distributes daily news assignments to reporters and editors. She also reports on a daily basis, anchors news afternoons 1-2p and fills in as anchor occasionally during other time slots. She began working at KTAR in the winter of 2012 as Desk Editor and was promoted to oversee Assignments and Breaking News in 2014. During that time, she received two awards as a journalist. The first was the 2013 APTRA Awards, where she took home 2nd place for Best Serious Future in the "Recycled Orchestra." The second was a 2014 Edward R. Murrow Award for her collaboration in KTAR's Voice for a Better Arizona Series: Immigration - seeking solutions. In her piece, Martha profiled two Arizona sisters looking for the DREAM. Martha was born in Mazatlan, Mexico. She moved to Arizona in 1996 with her parents and younger sister and has lived here since. She attended Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in Tempe. Prior to working at KTAR news she worked in news and production at Univision Arizona in Phoenix. She also supervised the marketing, catering and public relations department at Hotel Araiza, 5-star hotel in Mexicali, Mexico. She has also been a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. When she isn't in the newsroom or behind the microphone Martha is an avid gym-goer and marathoner. She trains for two races a year and enjoys taking group exercise classes, such as kickboxing, indoor cycling and weight lifting. Martha is married and lives in Surprise, AZ with 2 dogs, Tasha and Elsa, and a cat, Sammy.


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