Amalie Arena, home of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, has introduced an outdoor hydroponic garden outside of the facility that is being used to grow produce for foodservice operations inside the arena. Using a stacking system to maximize production in the 80-foot by 14-foot garden space, the new garden effectively provides one acre of farming space to provide fruits and vegetables for immediate consumption at the arena. The system maximizes growing space while minimizing water and nutrient usage through a system that collects excess runoff and returns it to storage tanks for future use.
Amalie Arena executive chef Rich Mathis has already been able to incorporate some of the offerings from lettuces to vegetables to herbs, which started to sprout in late August, into menu items in premium seating areas as well as for Lightning players and coaches during team meals. “Not only is it fresher but the flavor is much more intense the way we’re growing it here hydroponically,” Mathis said.