A “sharing garden” in Newton has grown in popularity since it was first planted three years ago, on a vacant two-acre site behind the arena, where a new event will be held in an effort to make it grow even more.
The place is called The PLOT, an acronym for peas, lettuce, onions and tomatoes, and the land has become a community gathering spot for gardeners and others who share a sense of wonder of the natural world, as described on theplot.ca website.
“We’re a group of friends, gardeners, teachers, students, musicians, crafters and community members who activate and create place in the vacant plot of land,” at the corner of 71st Avenue and 137A Street, Aman Chandi said on behalf of PLOT Sharing Garden and Newton Medicine Wheel.
Free organic food is grown and shared at PLOT, a site for weekly work parties, Sunday Picnics and other celebrations since it first sprang to life in 2016.
Among PLOT founders was Surrey-based artist Don Li-Leger, who died last April.
“I think a lot of people like the idea of building something and then sharing it, which is kind of unusual in our society,” Li-Leger said in 2016.
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The PLOT website describes “wonderful and unexpected connections” made among people in all ages, stages and stations in life – the young, elderly, families, long-time residents, newcomers, immigrants, refugees, those with means and those without, including the homeless and those with substance abuse and mental health challenges.
“Our goal is not just to support local food security, but to nurture spirits in a community with painful and chronic challenges,” says a post on the website. “Through inclusion, sharing, and trust, we strive to create a place of hope, abundance, safety and compassion. The PLOT has been lauded by social innovators, writers, and replicators as a bold and dynamic way of helping heal a broken community.”
This month, Friends of the PLOT have planned an event to showcase their garden.
The Mishmash Bash, set for the afternoon and evening of Saturday, Aug. 31, is described as “an all-inclusive gathering for the passionate musicians, comedians, poets, crafters, gardeners, mentors and friends of Surrey,” from 3 to 9 p.m.
“As part of our collaboration with the City of Surrey,” Chandi explained, “we are looking to introduce programming into the space and will be organizing a bash on Aug. 31 to celebrate the work done so far in the space and the connections it’s fostered.”
The grassroots Mishmash Bash promises performances and showcases “in a welcoming environment accompanied by community-building activities. “Come join us to support local musicians as well as the Surrey Artist Cooperative and other showcases for the event. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about The PLOT, this will be a great opportunity to meet those who care and regularly tend to the space. As well, we will have a survey to generate more ideas about community wants and needs for the PLOT.”
Registration for the free event is done at eventbrite.ca, where an event post includes a five-minute video of The PLOT created by SFU film students Jasmeen Virk, Anna Choi and Yasmeen Hakimi.
Photos of The PLOT are posted to facebook.com/friendsoftheplot, a portal for close to 300 people who “like” the sharing garden.
Another event there this month is a final Garden Plot Reading Series gathering of the summer, on the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 24, from 2 to 4 p.m., featuring author Wanda J. Kehewin, poet Kyle McKillop, musician Enrico Renz, poet Katheren Szabo and host Fauzia Rafique. The event is presented by Surrey Muse At Large, or Smal, described as “an attempt to take a shorter form of Surrey Muse programming to communities that may not be able to otherwise access it.”