CSU institute harvests sustainable garden at Coors Field

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The Institute for the Built Environment conducted its end-of-season harvest at Coors Field‘s sustainable garden this week.

The Institute for the Built Environment completed its second year of managing “The GaRden.” IBE has worked with the Colorado Rockies and Aramark, the Rockies’ exclusive food and beverage partner, to develop the 700-square-foot garden in an effort to provide healthy, sustainably produced herbs and vegetables on site.

The GaRden is on display for the 500,000 fans who pass through Gate A of the stadium each season. For the second year running, it has provided on-site vendors with fresh, hyper-local produce that is grown sustainably and with organic principles. The sustainably produced and managed vegetables, herbs, flowering ornamentals and plants promote beneficial garden ecosystem functions and inform the public about the importance of healthy ingredients in Aramark’s food operations. The food produced is used in on-site food operations for fans to enjoy in Coors Field restaurants such as the Mountain Ranch Bar and Grille Club menu and build-your-own salad station.

This year’s lineup included edible flowers and assorted vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, beets, cabbage, melon, peas, squash, eggplant, kale, carrots, beans, corn and chives. Herbs like parsley, thyme, basil, cilantro, dill, oregano and sage rounded out the palette of flavors available to Aramark’s various chefs. Three different plantings occurred throughout the season, as did rolling harvests.

Sustainable features of the GaRden include raised beds built from beetle-kill pinewood, organic soil and irrigation drip lines made from recycled materials. This season, more than 1,000 pounds of high-quality worm castings were donated by Rockies fan Jay Williams, owner of the Rocky Mountain Worm Company in Colorado Springs.

Coors Field was the first Major League Baseball venue to have an on-site garden, in 2013. Three other MLB stadiums created gardens in 2014.

The Coors Field garden is an example of IBE’s ethics of sustainable design in the built environment, regionally relevant projects and educational outreach intended to spread understanding about sustainable activities and their impacts on health.

Aramark promotes sustainable practices in food purchasing, environmentally responsible consumer choices, greenhouse gas-conscious building operations, energy and water conservation measures, green cleaning, greening their delivery fleet and ethically managing their waste products.

The Institute for the Built Environment is in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Colorado State University.