With it’s pastoral imagery, re-birth in spring, farm teams, and garden gnome giveaways, the connection between baseball and agriculture would seem to be obvious. The other day, ThinkProgress.org posted an article on Major League Baseball and the urban farming trend. According to the article, five MLB teams currently have gardens in their stadiums:
- Red Sox: Dubbed “Fenway Farms,” a 5,000 square rooftop farm grows on the roof behind Gate A of Fenway Park. Planted there are: kale, sweet peppers, a “rotating lineup of seasonal vegetables,” and herbs.
- Rockies: The Coors Field GaRden, also near Gate A, is a joint venture between the Rockies and Colorado State University. Plants in this 600 square foot garden include: Purple Viking potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, turnips, chard, kale, beans, and chives, as well as herbs such as parsley, thyme, basil, cilantro, dill, oregano and sage.
- Padres: For the last four years, the Director of Field Operations at Petco Pak has grown a variety of plants in the home and visitors’ bullpens, including: peppers, blueberries, avocados, pomegranates, lettuce, beets, onions, garlic, carrots, and radishes.
- Giants: The Garden at AT&T Park is a 4,320 square foot area where the team grows a variety of fruits and veggies, such as: blueberries, strawberries, avocados, tomatoes, peppers, squash, lettuce, lemons, and kale.
- Nationals: For the 2015 season, the Washington Nationals have piloted a program at their ballpark with 180 plants to grow tomatoes, zucchini, squash and herbs. The team says if it is successful, they will expand the garden in the future.
There are other interesting agricultural connections to baseball. Apparently the New York Mets were the first to plant a garden. As the story goes, a stray tomato plant grew in the Mets’ bullpen in Shea Stadium in 1969. Since it apparently brought the team some luck – and the pennant – the groundskeeper kept planting in hopes of a future Mets winnning seasons. The Orioles’ Memorial Stadium also was a good place to grow tomatoes, though ivy didn’t do too well at Camden Yards.
In 2012, the Fresno Grizzlies established the Grizzlies Community Fund’s Farm Grown program to promote Central California agriculture. The team hosts a farmer’s market during every Friday home game. The program also includes a literacy component for children as well as agricultural exhibits and displays.
And of course, the St. Paul Saints, always a little different, have corn-themed foul poles in their stadium. The team that once had ears of corn as a promotional giveaway teamed up this year with the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) to feature the state’s largest crop on the stadium’s foul poles. In addition, MCGA signage is featured on the outfield walls and throughout the season the Saints will play “the world’s largest game of corn toss” between innings. And on July 25, the MCGA is sponsoring a mini bat giveaway for the first 1,000 fans.