From (Center) Field to Table – Safeco’s Urban Garden

Safeco Field Executive Chef Michael Johnson harvests mixed greens from the Safeco Field Urban Garden, which will be made into a Hit It Here Salad.

Safeco Field Executive Chef Michael Johnson harvests mixed greens from the Safeco Field Urban Garden, which will be made into a Hit It Here Salad.

Right behind the 401’ marker on the center field wall at Safeco Field is a new Urban Garden that will supply fresh herbs and vegetables that will be incorporated into the ballpark menu.

The project is a collaboration between the Seattle Mariners, Centerplate (the ballpark’s concessions provider), Cedar Grove Composting and BASF.

The garden is located at the base of the Batter’s Eye in a raised bed. The 450-square foot container was prepared, and will be maintained by Seattle Urban Farm Company, a local business that uses sustainable farming principles to create “unique, productive outdoors spaces.”

The first crop was planted in late March — lettuce, greens, onions, radishes.

Safeco Field Executive Chef Michael Johnson says he worked with Seattle Urban Farms to help determine what crops will be planted over the course of the growing season.

“Colin and I have talked about tomatoes, cucumbers, spicy chili peppers, kind of playing around with the stuff that’s cool and things that translate into what we do here,” says Johnson.

The early produce is being incorporated into the Hit It Here Salad, from the Hit It Here Café, which consists of mixed greens, English cucumber, heirloom cherry tomatoes, Rogue creamery Oregonzola cheese and bacon bits tossed in roasted red pepper vinaigrette.

Colin McCrate, of Seattle Urban Farm Company, uses sustainable practices to maintain the Safeco Field Urban Garden.

Colin McCrate, of Seattle Urban Farm Company, uses sustainable practices to maintain the Safeco Field Urban Garden.

Colin McCrate, co-founder of Seattle Urban Farm Company, says the Safeco Field garden is a good way to demonstrate what can be done in a relatively small space, 450-square feet.

“I think it’s important for people to know that they can grow a lot of food in a pretty small amount of space with a pretty limited amount of time. I encourage everybody to think about growing some food at home.

The garden was created with and is being maintained with sustainable practices such as water-saving drip irrigation and the use of organic products and nutrient-rich compost from Cedar Grove Composting.

“This garden brings the Mariners organics recycling program full circle,” said Karen Dawson, Director of Community Relations, Cedar Grove. “Using compost, manufactured by Cedar Grove in part from food scraps collected at Safeco Field, to grow vegetables at the ballpark for fan consumption.”

Safeco Field has been recycling compostables since 2007, resulting in the diversion of 9.4 million pounds of food and yard waste from the landfill. Cedar Grove transforms food scraps and grass clippings, mingled with organic matter collected from businesses, restaurants, and homeowners across the greater Seattle area, into compost.

In 2011, BASF became the Mariners founding sustainability partner, supporting Safeco Field’s waste diversion program by encouraging fans to compost and recycle. Organic waste bags made of BASF’s certified compostable polymer, ecovio®, make organic waste collection cleaner, safer, and easier.

“This unique partnership demonstrates an innovative solution for urban growth through a closed loop system,” said Charlene Wall-Warren, Director of Sustainability, BASF. “When fans visit the stadium, they can see first-hand how BASF technologies contribute to sustainability.”

Safeco Field Sustainability

Safeco Field is one of the most sustainably operated facilities in the world. Almost 87% of all waste generated at the ballpark was recycled or composted last year, diverting almost 3,000,000 pounds of recyclable material from the waste stream.

Every year since 2010, the Mariners have been honored by Major League Baseball as American League Recycling Champions.

Additionally, Safeco Field has the lowest “energy intensity” of any ballpark in Major League Baseball. Energy intensity is a measure of a facility’s energy efficiency. In 2015, the Mariners became the first MLB team to install LED lights to illuminate the playing field. The LED lights use 60%-70% less energy than old-technology metal halide lamps.

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