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Phoenix, Arizona: Diamondbacks Sprout Vertical Garden

By BioCycle
Composting Roundup

Diamondbacks’ food waste composting and vertical garden Photo by Taylor Jackson/Arizona Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks’ food waste composting and vertical garden
Photo by Taylor Jackson/Arizona Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks, a Major League Baseball team, installed a vertical urban garden that is using compost produced from its fledgling organics diversion program.

Funded by UnitedHealthcare and designed by Flower Street Urban Gardens, the garden’s 180 square feet of vertically hanging planting space just outside the main ballpark gates contains up to 200 assorted herbs, including basil, chives, lavender, oregano and rosemary. Diamondbacks’ concessionaire Levy Restaurants collaborated with the team to choose herbs that can be integrated into its menus. Excess produce is donated to local organizations, such as St. Vincent de Paul.

“The vertical garden has been a wish list item for some time,” explains Graham Rossini, Vice President of Special Projects for the team. “We were finally able to engage a couple of partners to bring in the resources.” UnitedHealthcare is using the garden as a tool to teach healthy eating and demonstrate a growing system that can be installed at home. It sponsors dedicated events to bring youth and school group tours to the ballpark.

Soil amendments for the garden are produced in part from the preconsumer food waste that the Diamondbacks began diverting this season. Over the first 48 home games, the club and its hauler Waste Management have diverted more than 18 tons to GRO-WELL, a Phoenix area composting facility. Based on the year-to-date tonnage, Rossini expects 35 tons will be diverted before the end of the season. “Our primary focus has been on back-of-house kitchen and prep areas to ensure a clean stream of organic materials,” he says. “With success in the more controlled locations, we’ve expanded collection to [kitchens and prep areas in] select concessions stands and subcontractors and will continue to grow as quickly as possible.”

The Diamondbacks and Levy Restaurants have donated over 6 tons of unused concessions’ food to Phoenix’s Church on the Street so far this season, which equates to approximately 10,000 individual meals to those in need.

Read the full highlight here.

Diamondbacks Add Urban Garden at Chase Field

by 

D-backs Green Garden planting. (Photo by Taylor Jackson/Arizona Diamondbacks)

D-backs Green Garden planting. (Photo by Taylor Jackson/Arizona Diamondbacks)

The Arizona Diamondbacks have added D-backs Greens, a vertical urban garden, sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, at Chase Field to provide sustainability and educational opportunities throughout the remainder of the season. D-backs Greens will be located on the northwest wall of the stadium, just outside the main gates and will be visible to all fans for the remainder of the season.

D-backs Greens will contain nearly 200 assorted herbs, including sweet basil, chives, garlic chives, lavender, oregano, rosemary and more that will change seasonally. The garden was designed and created by a local company, Flower Street Urban Gardens, and features 180-square feet of vertically-hanging planting space. With the support of UnitedHealthcare, the D-backs will use D-backs Greens as an educational tool to teach fans about sustainability efforts and encourage healthy eating. As part of the D-backs’ sustainability efforts, the team will utilize compost produced in part from organic material collected from ballpark kitchens to enrich and enhance the soil in the garden.

The Diamondbacks have also partnered with Coors Light to install a D-backs-logoed sculpture in the rotunda that will be filled with more than 1,000 Coors Light beer cans collected after D-backs games throughout the second half of the season to illustrate their combined recycling efforts. 

Throughout the first half of the season, the D-backs have made significant strides in the team’s sustainability efforts and already this season have diverted more than 18 tons of organic material from the waste stream through a new organics collection program. Through 48 home games this season, the D-backs and Levy Restaurants have also donated more than six tons of unused concessions food to Church on the Street, which equates to roughly 10,000 individual meals that help people in need in the Phoenix community.

Read the full story here.

EPA Recognizes Outstanding Food Recovery Challenge Participants

2016-12-05-newsfeed-epa-food-recovery-image

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the accomplishments of 13 organizations and businesses participating in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge.

In 2015, more than 800 governments, businesses and organizations participated in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. Participants include organizations such as grocers, restaurants, educational institutions and sports and entertainment venues, who together kept more than 690,000 tons of food from being wasted. These efforts reduced carbon emissions equivalent to taking approximately 86,000 cars off the road for a year and saved businesses up to $35 million in avoided waste disposal fees.

“The waste reduction efforts of this year’s award winners, as well as all Food Recovery Challenge participants and endorsers, are leading the way for the United States to meet the national goal to cut food loss and waste in half by 2030,” said Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management. “These Food Recovery Challenge award winners are reducing food loss and waste within their communities to make America a healthier, more sustainable nation. They are leading by example and have reduced their climate footprint, helped communities and achieved cost savings by taking actions based on EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy and sustainable materials management best practices.”

In the United States, wasted food carries significant economic and environmental costs. Food accounts for the largest share of the municipal waste stream, with roughly 77 billion pounds discarded each year. The estimated value of food that goes uneaten each year is $161.6 billion, costing the average family up to $1,500. Uneaten food and other organic materials in landfills decompose and generate methane, a significantly harmful greenhouse gas. Landfills are one of the largest sources of methane emissions produced from human activity.

To reduce their food waste, Food Recovery Challenge participants use creative practices such as:

  • Recovering food from farmers’ markets
  • Creating food waste volunteer programs in high schools
  • Giving college students the option to choose what goes on their plates
  • Using tools to improve portion control and meal forecasting
  • Adding infrastructure to more efficiently distribute perishable produce

Read the full article here.

Read EPA’s blog post by Mathy Stanislaus here.

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