Ballpark Gardening: A Home Run in the Major Leagues

Reader Contribution by Allison Evans
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When it comes to name association, urban farming and baseball traditionally haven’t gotten the same recognition as peanut butter and jelly, but with the up-and-coming trend of ballpark gardening it’s a duo that has the potential to become infamous. More and more baseball teams are turning toward sustainability as they embrace the concept of growing your own food in your own space, which for them just so happens to be the ballparks.

When Fenway Park opened its doors to Fenway Farms, a 5,000 square foot rooftop oasis located behind Gate A, it became the fifth and most recent major league ballpark in the country to incorporate a garden into its scenery. Following in the footsteps of others, such as the Giants, Rockies and Padres, the Red Sox began their urban farming venture with a goal of providing sustainable food and educational opportunities for the community.

Although the concept of slow grown, sustainable foods may seem odd in the world of fast-paced, hot dog-loving baseball, the idea is proving to be a home run in more ways than one.  Ballparks are using the homegrown produce in their concession stands and restaurants, cutting down on imported goods as well as giving game-goers a taste of culinary delight grown right in front of their eyes. In addition, the gardens are being used for educational purposes, including tours, children’s activities and community programs, all geared toward teaching the value of sustainable, local food sources.

Ballpark gardening isn’t a completely new trend, however. Several teams throughout the years have embraced the idea long before it became popular, often planting vegetation inside their bullpens. The Mets, Padres, Orioles and Red Sox have all reportedly maintained a bullpen garden sometime during their history. And with an increased awareness throughout the country toward health and the environment, experts foresee the trend in ballpark gardens spreading as teams continue to announce plans to work toward a healthier, more sustainable future. You can learn more about urban farming in the MLB by reading The Urban Farming Trend That’s Taking Over Major League Baseball.

Photo by Fotolia/vivalapenler: Baseball teams across the country are taking steps toward sustainability by making urban gardens a part of the ballpark experience.

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