Published on December 15th, 2016 | by Carolyn Fortuna
Fenway Park Rooftop Garden Offers Environmental Benefits to Baseball Stadium
If you’re thinking about getting tickets to see a 2017 Red Sox game at historic Fenway Park in Boston, may I recommend choosing seats near the State Street Pavilion? You’ll not only have a clear view all the way from home plate to the Green Monster, you’ll be able to look down over the rooftop garden where vegetables and herbs are grown throughout the baseball season. Produce and herbs grown in “Fenway Farms” are incorporated into foods sold at the Fenway Park concessions, including the restaurant in the EMC Club.
The garden changes seasonally but typically includes vegetables such as arugula, green beans, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, lettuce, pea shoots, sweet peppers, and tomatoes. Herbs such as basil, chives, cilantro, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme are also grown. There are even beehives!
There’s more to the garden than the yummy foods that are harvested, too. The environmental benefits include improved air quality, energy reduction through improved thermal performance, moderation of urban heat, and storm water amelioration. In effect, the garden acts as an insulator, reducing heat and cooling needs to the building below. Importantly, Fenway Park Farms also serves as a teaching tool for area youth on the importance of healthy eating and the local environment.
Fenway Farms sits on a 5,000 square foot roof above the Red Sox Front Offices. Previously, the area was little more than an underutilized black rubber membrane roof. Now it produces a 4000 pound harvest annually.
The last time we Red Sox fans heard about gardening in the park was in 2001 when Red Sox bullpen coach, John Cumberland, who grew up on a farm in Westbrook, Maine, started a tomato garden in the home bullpen to change the team’s karma. It seems to have worked, as the team went on to win the World Series in 2004. 2007, and 2013. Cumberland grew 18 plants and put sweet basil between each one.
Recover Green Roofs and Green City Growers, both local companies, installed and planted the first season of Fenway Park Farms in 2015. Garden planter containers and irrigation system help the garden to flourish during its growing season. It’s the best of city, baseball, and greenscape, all rolled into one.