When you visit Heritage Gardens and stroll along the west side of the property away from our burial areas, on the land reserved for our future reception centre, you will notice a vegetable garden. You may think this is an unusual sight to be seen on the grounds of a cemetery but, for us, it’s a continuation of our dedication to sustainability and community. Our Surrey cemetery is one of two BC cemeteries that offers green burial and traditional burial options.
In 2019, the first year of our garden patch, we planted a wide variety of vegetables and nurtured them into big delicious piles of fresh produce. There were cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, carrots, onions, rhubarb, beans, broccoli, cabbage, turnips, radishes, lettuce, asparagus, zucchini, and green peppers. All of this was done without the use of pesticides. By being a pesticide-free garden we can be sure that all of the creatures that live on and visit our grounds are protected and cared for, even if they take a nibble in our veggie-patch.
Growing a vegetable garden is another small way to protect our surrounding environment. All plants, including vegetables, continuously photosynthesize. This is when plants inhale carbon dioxide and release oxygen. So, more plants mean lessening the carbon dioxide levels and helping to keep our air and the environment cleaner. Planting a garden also helps combat erosion damage. As humans develop land and disrupt the natural state of it this can lead to increased soil erosion which can affect the quality of the soil and local streams. Gardening and vegetation can help combat this environmental problem. The roots of plants hold the grounds firmly in place and it helps minimize the impact of erosion.
Including this vegetable garden to our grounds has given us even more than the environmental benefits. It has given us the opportunity to give to our community. The Surrey community has a culture of compassion and taking care of your neighbours. The families that live here come from all walks of life and from all over the world. When it came time to harvest the garden, we were thrilled to tell our visitors that there were over 240 pounds of organic produce grown this season – a delicious haul in which we could share with the community. The Surrey Food Bank supports local families by offering fresh and non-perishable food items to anyone who is in need and they were a natural choice for us. It was an incredibly rewarding day when we were able to load our cars up with our home-grown organic vegetables and know they would be shared with our community.
There are plans to expand our vegetable garden this year and we hope this means that we will be able to share even more with our community. For more information about our green initiatives click here or read this blog about our beehives.