|No garden (yet!) at Albuquerque Isotopes Park|
If you listen to a baseball broadcast in Spanish, you might hear the announcer refer to the outfield as the yard (jardín). The word jardín in Spanish can also mean the garden (as in vegetable garden). There are actually a few instances where vegetable gardens are part of the game of baseball. Five Major League Baseball parks have devoted land for vegetable gardens: Coors Field (Colorado Rockies), Petco Park (San Diego Padres), Nationals Park (Washington Nationals), Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox) and AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants). The gardens are used to provide healthy ingredients for food at the ballpark and to provide a learning opportunity about gardening to young people. AT&T offers tours of its garden to youth.
|Photo. Boston Red Sox|
|Photo: Washington Nationals|
|Photo: City Farmer News|
|Photo: San Francisco Giants|
When the garden first opened at AT&T in 2004, the Giants tweeted that they had the first “organic, edible garden" in Major League Baseball. Not so, said the daily newspaper in San Diego. "The San Diego Padres are about to enter their third season with one," said The San Diego Union-Tribune. (Not to be outdone in San Francisco, the football franchise, the 49ers included a rooftop garden at their still-new Levi's Stadium)
|Photo: Colorado Rockies|
There are 25 other baseball teams in Major League Baseball, which means the potential for another 25 ballpark gardens in cities like Los Angeles, St. Louis, New York, Kansas City, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Chicago. There is precedent in some of these cities: tomatoes, sunflowers and corn were grown in Shea Stadium, the former home of the New York Mets. The Atlanta Braves and Detroit Tigers at one time also grew produce in their bullpen areas, according to Smithsonian magazine. And the Baltimore Orioles grew tomatoes in foul territory in left field at their old Memorial Stadium home, said The Baltimore Sun in 2011.
Let's not limit ourselves to the Major League Teams. Every team has at least five affiliates, which means opportunities for community gardens from Albuquerque and Nashville to Albany, N.Y., Durham, N.C., Spokane, Wa., Jupiter, Fla., Portland, Me., Dayton, Oh, Missoula, Mt., and dozens of other cities.
The gardens go beyond the promotion of healthy eating. “These practices are an entryway to so many environmental issues, from water scarcity to agriculture and chemical impacts on our land,” Alice Henry told ClimateProgress.