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Starting a New Community Garden

NewGardenPlots

The City of Surrey is supportive of new community gardens, where there is neighbourhood interest and need. If you've identified a suitable piece of City-owned land and have a group of people that are willing to coordinate and maintain the community garden, you are invited to complete and submit the application form below to create a new garden on City land.

In most cases, the City will provide successful applicants with site preparation, garden bed construction, first year’s soil, and a water hook up. The garden group must sign an agreement with the City and is responsible for managing the community garden, including membership and ongoing maintenance of the site.

Support for the start up of new community gardens is available through Can You Dig It, a local non-profit dedicated to increasing community belonging and inclusion through gardening. Learn more about how partnering with Can You Dig It ensures that new community gardens are inclusive, self-sustaining over the long term, and meet the City's maintenance and liability requirements.

The City of Surrey requires your community group to form a society or associate with an existing organization for licensing and insurance purposes. Should your proposal be successful, the City of Surrey can provide your group with the support and expertise of Can You Dig It as the society supporting your garden project.

The City strongly encourages you to contact Can You Dig It for help in putting together the application form.

Steps to creating a community garden in Surrey

  1. Identify the garden location and a group of volunteers. Be sure the location you have in mind is on City land – you may verify this on COSMOS or call 604-501-5050 if you aren’t sure. A minimum of 12 people must be committed to supporting the project. It's a good idea to poll the neighbourhood to ensure there is local support for the garden at this stage.
  2. Submit an application: Due September 30, 2016. The application form outlines the criteria that will be used to evaluate the applications. Include as much relevant information as possible so your application can be fully evaluated. Only 1 location may be submitted per proposal. Download the application form for new gardens.
  3. Finalize site plan and garden governance. Successful applicants will be notified in the late fall, and will work with the City to finalize the site plan and do a full neighbourhood survey to confirm support. At this time, all garden groups must incorporate as a Society or partner with a non-profit that is willing to be responsible for the garden and sign an operating agreement with the City. For those groups that are planning to incorporate, the BC Ministry of Finance has step-by-step instructions for incorporating as a Society in BC.
  4. Sign an Operating Agreement. The garden group must agree to the City of Surrey Community Garden Guidelines, and sign an operating agreement for the ongoing maintenance of the community garden. As part of the agreement, the group must acquire and maintain insurance for a minimum of $2,000,000.00, naming the City of Surrey as an additional insured (this may also be provided by the partner non-profit in some cases).

The City will build the community garden in the spring, prior to the growing season, providing all the preceding requirements are in place. The garden group will be involved in many aspects of the installation of the garden and a solid group of garden volunteers is needed to get the garden started.

The City provides substantial contributions, but there will be costs incurred by the garden group, including the cost of incorporation (~$130), insurance (~$350), and garden supplies and tools. Some of these costs may not be necessary if the garden group works in partnership with Can You Dig It. Community gardens generally charge membership fees for each plot, ranging from $5 to $50/year and these fees are typically used to cover annual garden expenses.

For questions, call 604-591-4297 or email us at sustainability@surrey.ca.  You are encouraged to contact Can You Dig It (see contact info above) for help in putting together this application form.

Check out our Start a New Community Garden brochure! For copies of the brochure, please contact sustainability@surrey.ca.

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