Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

Baseball and Beets

In the baseball classic, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, no where does it mention the hope that someone will, “…buy me some peanuts and kale chips, cause I don’t care if I ever go back…” But in keeping with current trends and a yen for fresh produce, the local 9 affiliation Boston Red Sox have installed a garden with vegetables at that little band box, Fenway Park. I do not know if it is organic, but it is an effort to grow and provide local produce, while reinforcing the notion of sustainable practices. The Sox are also giving a nod to traditions of years past where many teams would happily grow tomato plants in the pitcher’s bullpen.

baseballSince baseball is often considered the harbinger of spring, the reawakening from a long winter (see record snowfall of 2015) and the delight and joy of spending time outside to stretch and soak up the warm sun, the notion of welcoming the season with new seeds of hope and juicy tomatoes seems right in line with a farmer’s plan.  Why not expand the tomato crop plan to include carrots, eggplant, basil and potatoes.  As teams wend their way to different ball parks and return home for games, there will be opportunities to enjoy different harvests at different times of the year. An early game at Fenway in April could feature radishes as an hors d’oeuvre. A west coast swing in May could easily yield an arugula salad instead of a hot dog. And a July fourth day game in Chicago could mean some early sweet corn to accompany the cracker jacks. Who is to say baseball can’t be a part of the local food movement? Even the dashed hopes of a team that does not make the playoffs in October could be lifted by the planting of garlic at season’s end, knowing that one has to wait till next year.

But like many folks who may come to Holly Hill’s early plant sale this Saturday craving some onion, chard, spinach and pea seedlings, there is a conflicting practice which is prevalent in major league baseball and for the home gardener. Many people committed to organic growing may still have a green lawn which is fed by a four step chemical fertilizer diet. The baseball diamonds across the country are primarily fed artificial, synthetic fertilizers, as are many lawns, back, front and side yards. This is the time of year that Tru GreenMiracle Gro, and Chem Lawn companies come out to spray, spread and “feed” the grass. They offer a financial deal as incentive. There is even a kind man with a lovely Scottish brogue encouraging Scotts’ plan for a green lawn. Many plans call for a rounding up of weeds, so as one can rest for the majority of the summer. Sounds better than weeding and thinning the carrots. But the results of chemical run-off going into the water we drink is no consolation. Not to mention supporting a chemical dependent habit. Aren’t we trying to combat opiate addictions?

So Sox, Cubs, Athletics and Blue Jays, even the local tee ball and little league clubs, please consider continuing this trend of growing vegetables, flowers and herbs along the right field fence with organic practices and treat that grass in the infield the same way you might treat the food we eat. For it’s root, root, root crops for everyone, if they don’t grow it’s a shame,/ Cause it’s one, two, three beets for you at the old ball game.

© 2015, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm

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