The farm, maintained by farmers from the organization Green City Growers, covers a 5,000-square-foot area on the third floor of the stadium.
Ask anyone what Fenway Park is and their answer would be home to the Boston Red Sox. However, this stadium envelops much more within it apart from the legacy of a baseball team. The roof of the stadium grows 6,000 pounds of produce through farming, per CNN. This aspect of the stadium's identity is evident in the way the outfield wall has been painted. It is painted fully green to remind visitors how the field contributes to the environment. The rooftop garden area where the farm resides has been named Fenway Farm. For its maintenance, farmers from an organization known as Green City Growers arrive to harvest this 5,000-square-foot structure.
In order to see the garden, the visitors just need to look at the third floor. Chris Grallert, president of Green City Growers, is extremely proud of what the organization has been able to manage with this garden. He shares how the garden can grow anything from A to Z – “asparagus to zucchini,” due to its expansive growing space. “Local is not new. In 1920, this area (in downtown Boston) ranked fifth in the nation for values of crops or fruits and vegetables. And all the communities around Boston had local markets and local gardens,” Grallert says, “Having a rooftop farm at Fenway Park is an amazing way to be a part of reinvigorating a local food production system.”
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The whole thing started in 2014, when the Red Sox organization contacted Recover Green Roofs, to install the garden. The inauguration of the garden was done on Major League Baseball’s Opening Day in 2015. “What we’re doing here has been done for 10,000 years or more. We’re not flying to the moon,” Grallert adds, “What we need is sunlight and water and soil and drainage and fertility and basic things that any agricultural system needs. You can really grow anything that could grow in a garden on the ground. We’re just taking that system and putting it up on a roof.”
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The farmers ensure that the produce from the garden benefits the community. In order to do that, the produce goes straight to the nearby restaurants and concessions. Chef Ron Abell, the senior executive chef at Fenway Park, commends the fruits, vegetables and herbs provided by the garden. In his opinion, there is no beating the quality of this produce as it does not even get loaded in the truck. It comes straight from the farm to the kitchen. He further adds that in order to keep using fresh ingredients, the menu of his restaurants adapts to the crops provided by the farm. In spring, radishes, baby lettuces and strawberries are harvested, therefore the dishes in Abell's restaurant focus on these ingredients.
“A lot of the product that we use from the farm, we keep it simple,” Abell says. “We kind of leave it on its own and don’t manipulate it too much… we just let it shine for what it is.” But it is not all hunky dory, keeping everything natural comes with a price. As Abell adds, quantity has become quite an issue. One year, there were too many radishes, way above the requirement. However, the farm and its authorities are firm in their decision to remain organic throughout the whole process and not use any artificial measures.
Grallert comments on how the community participates and enjoys the farm, “The chef and the people in the food service concessions here are intimately involved with selecting what crops are grown and how much of the crops are grown,” he adds. “They even are coming down here and harvesting fresh produce for the kitchen themselves.”