During a recent White House event honoring the San Francisco Giants for winning the 2012 World Series, President Obama announced the team’s plan to build a 3,000 square foot edible garden at AT&T Park.
“I’m proud to announce that next season they’re planning to turn the centerfield bleachers at AT&T Park into what’s believed to be the first ever edible garden in a major American sports facility,” the President said. “With rows of kale and strawberries and eggplant, the Giants are going to help encourage local youth to eat healthy -- even at the ballpark.”
The first of its kind, the “Giants Garden” will be planted behind the center-field wall in a space between the left- and right- field bleachers, which currently is used to grow replacement sod. The garden will be a bona fide farm, growing strawberries, herbs, avocados, tomatoes, lemons, edible flowers, huckleberries and more.
The all-organic produce will supply concession stands through the ballpark, as well a special open-air restaurant and community classroom that will be built near the garden.
The garden also will include hydroponic troughs, concrete planters and green trellises, or "living walls," according to early renderings.
"We really wanted to be able to do something that is not just very San Francisco, but a part of today's world," Giants president and CEO Larry Baer told SFGate. "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."
To realize the ambitious project, the Giants have teamed up with Bon Appetit Management Co., which has run the high-end concessions at AT&T since it opened in 2000.
Bon Appetit’s founder and president, Fedele Bauccio, says he envisions the Giants Garden to be a year-round community space, with classes and tours for families and children during the offseason. An homage to first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to turn the tide against the child obesity epidemic, the garden will strive to encourage healthy eating and sustainable agriculture.
Bauccio says the idea would be for people to eat food from the garden as they watch the game (Given the Giant’s poor performance this season, the new garden could be a welcome distraction).
One of the chief hurdles the garden will have to clear is complying with Major League Baseball rules, which require the center-field wall and backdrop to remain a solid dark color, in order to avoid interfering with the batter's line of sight. To comply with this, Bauccio says he has been speaking to architects and landscapers about constructing a wall that is transparent from the back side.
The garden will be built during the post-2013 offseason and is expected to be completed by Opening Day 2014.
The Giants have shown a long-standing commitment to sustainable practices. During the 2012 World Series, the team managed to divert more than 80 percent of game day waste, helping San Francisco to achieve the highest recycling rate in the country.
Based in San Francisco, Mike Hower is an Associate Editor at Sustainable Brands and writes about companies and organizations engaged in sustainability strategy, clean technology and social entrepreneurship. As a natural politico, he has a soft spot for anything related to public policy and the intersection of business and government. Mike also is Editor of Article 3, a media platform focused on the intersection of technology, politics and law, and Communications Manager at Rocket Lawyer. You also can connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter (@mikehower).