In San Francisco, Edible Garden Crops Up In Center Field

Hot dogs and pretzels are familiar concession-stand staples in most sports stadiums, but by next spring, San Francisco Giants fans may be munching on a locally grown salad or piece of fruit that’s been grown inside the stadium. 

A 3,000-square-foot organic garden is being planted this fall behind the center-field wall in the team’s home stadium, now-called AT&T Park.  

This first-of-its-kind project for a professional sports arena will be situated on a sunny patch of land between the left- and right-field bleachers, replacing concrete and a place where replacement sod is currently grown.

If all goes well, the garden will be harvested in time for  Opening Day 2014.

The idea was dreamed up by the Giants’ management organization and its concession company, Bon Appetit Management Co, which has long led the industry on sustainable food sourcing policies. 

"There’s so much product we can grow, it’s unbelievable," Bon Appetit founder and CEO Fedele Bauccio told The San Francisco Chronicle. "Kale, strawberries, broccolini, citrus, huckleberry…"

Produce planned for the garden also includes bok choy, kale, kumquats, avocados, chard and herbs that will be used in cuisine across the park. Besides providing fresh vegetables and fruits, the garden will help cut freight emissions associated with trucking in these ingredients from farms off-site. 

The concept planned by EDG Interior Architecture & Design and Blasen Landscape Architecture (see illustration) features traditional plant beds for peas and other viney vegetables; aeroponic towers for greens and tomatoes; and a miniature lemon tree grove that will be intermingled with herbs, pansies and marigolds.

Giants Garden

"The commitment we’re making is to create this garden and use that real estate in a way that’s productive. We think it’s the perfect solution," Larry Baer, Giants president and CEO, told the Chronicle.

The San Francisco Giants are members of the Green Sports Alliance, which now includes most teams in the country and involves the greening of US stadiums on an impressive scale. The Giant’s stadium, for example, has a LEED Silver rating, which it partially earned for its solar system and forward-thinking irrigation practices, which have helped reduce field watering by 33%.

San Francisco 49ers are building a net-zero energy stadium that has 400 kilowatts of solar and a 27,000 square foot green roof.

Other notable football stadiums are home to the Philadelphia Eagles, which has wind and 3.2 MW of solar, producing six times the energy it needs; the Washington Redskins 2 MW solar array; and the Seattle Seahawks. A new stadium in Texas is LEED-Platinum. 

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