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Farming at Fenway


WORLD Radio - Farming at Fenway

Fenway Park is one of several major league baseball stadiums using space to educate fans on the positive power of plants

Fenway Farms at Fenway Park in Boston, Mass. Photo by Kim Henderson

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, July 9. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.

Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Growing, growing, gone. It’s baseball season, but it’s also gardening season in some major league stadiums. The harvest is looking pretty good for the Boston Red Sox. And we’re not talking about the standings!

REICHARD: No, something else is happening in Boston. WORLD Senior Writer Kim Henderson brings us this report.


KIM HENDERSON: Fenway Park is the home of the Boston Red Sox. The stadium was built in 1912, which makes it the oldest active ballpark in Major League Baseball.


Fenway’s left field wall is painted a unique shade of green. It’s so iconic that paint company Benjamin Moore had a limited edition paint color in its honor called “Green Monster.”

But Fenway is also known for a different kind of green. The kind that grows on what was once an oddly-shaped unused rubber roof.

A Red Sox official describes Fenway’s unusual enterprise.

CLIP: Fenway Farms is a 5,000 square-foot rooftop garden on the third base side of Fenway. It’s actually on the top of the Red Sox’ front offices.

It’s been nearly 9 years since Fenway Farms took root. Since then, the rooftop garden has managed to produce up to 6,000 pounds of organic vegetables each season.

Carrots, kale, tomatoes, asparagus, zucchini. Arugula, green beans, eggplant. It’s a garden that will knock your sox off.

WORKER: We thought we’d try out a bunch of different varieties and see what the kitchens were using. Also to experiment to see what people liked.

It’s not exactly a garden in the style of say, Eden. The vegetables here grow in raised planters made of recycled milk crates. A remote-controlled drip irrigation system keeps everything watered.


So it’s not just the sluggers who get reactions at Fenway. The sight of rows of plants in such an unexpected place never fails to surprise ticket holders.

MAN: Look, there’s a farm.

A business called Green City Growers maintains the farm. Their workers are sometimes called “the other Red Sox farm team.” Green City Growers President Chris Grallert says Fenway is proof that agriculture can happen anywhere. Audio here courtesy of CNN.

CHRIS GRALLERT: There’s a desire for people to have more locally grown fresh produce and interact with the people who are growing and distributing that fresh produce. When you have such high visibility as you do at a garden like this, people start to see that it’s possible. And it can really be the seed to start the new revolution toward food system transformation.


One of the most famous features of Fenway Park is its vintage hand-operated scoreboard.

The farm is also hand-operated, especially the picking.

The harvest is used in restaurants and concession stands throughout the ballpark. Hot dogs and peanuts still reign supreme, but stadium food has a new twist. It’s a different kind of home plate.

Here’s Fenway Chef Ron Abell.

RON ABELL: For years we’ve been using all the local farmers, making sure that food doesn’t travel too far to get to us. Well, it’s ridiculous how close it is now to us. Literally, it’s about 150 feet away from us now.

Any extra produce is donated.

CLIP: This weekend Boston Children’s Museum is opening its Fenway Farms Rooftop Garden.

Fans view the garden at Fenway Park.

Fans view the garden at Fenway Park. Photo by Kim Henderson

Fenway Farms is successful, successful enough to be replicated in the Boston Children's Museum. There, children can explore an outdoor vegetable garden exhibit and ask a friendly farmer their questions.

But the Red Sox aren’t the only major league team with a green thumb. The Colorado Rockies have been known to garden in their stadium. So have the Padres and the Giants. But none are in the league of Fenway Farms.

Visitors to Fenway Park can’t walk through the vegetable rows, but they can admire the leafy vines and sturdy stalks from a walkway overlooking the garden. That means some 500,000 children and adults encounter Fenway Farms every year. Many are able to see the food growing process for the first time in their lives. It’s part of the project’s mission, to introduce city dwellers to the positive power of plants.


So Red Sox fans can get their baseball fix this season, as well as a salad and a kale Caesar wrap. Who knows? Fans may even leave Fenway feeling a little farm-inspired.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kim Henderson in Boston, Massachusetts.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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