Tuesday, July 30, 2013

President Obama Announces SF Giants Will Plant Organic Vegetable Garden In Centerfield

Field of dreams will include a field of greens, but President says it's still "okay" to eat hot dogs...
Washington, DC-- As President Barack Obama on Monday welcomed the San Francisco Giants to the White House to rain praise on the team for their 2012 World Series Championship, he announced that the ball club will be creating an organic food garden on their home field at AT&T Park.  It's the first of its kind, he said.   (Above, with the team on the South Lawn)

"I’m proud to announce that next season they’re planning to turn the centerfield bleachers at AT&T Park into what’s believed to be the first-ever edible garden in a major American sports facility," President Obama said, surrounded by beaming members of the team.

Dubbed the Giants Garden, the project, like First Lady Michelle Obama's White House Kitchen Garden, will eventually serve as a teaching garden for children.  It will provide ultra-local produce for stadium concessions, and food will be served at garden-side tables.  At 3,000 square feet, it will be twice the size of Mrs. Obama's garden, and include trellised 'living walls' and hydroponics.

"With rows of kale and strawberries and eggplant, the Giants are going to help encourage local youth to eat healthy--even at the ballpark," President Obama said.  

Still, President Obama was quick to pay homage to America's current favorite ballpark food.

"I should add, even Michelle would say it's okay to have a hot dog once in a while, though," President Obama said to laughter.  

"I don’t want everybody to get carried away and think they have to have kale every time they go to the ballpark."

Or broccoli, which the President has claimed is his favorite food.

If all goes as planned, the garden will be ready by Opening Day 2014.  It will be located behind the centerfield wall, between the left- and right-field bleachers, reported San Francisco Chronicle The project is a partnership between the team and the sustainable, organic Bon Appetit Management Co., which has operated the high-end food concessions in the park since it opened in 2000. (Above, a rendering of the plan from designers Blasen Landscape Architecture and EDG Design Group)

 "We really wanted to be able to do something that is not just very San Francisco, but a part of today's world," said Larry Baer, Giants president and CEO, who was at the South Lawn ceremony. 

"The commitment we're making is to create this garden and use that real estate in a way that's productive. We think it's the perfect solution."
The Giants' visit to the White House was their second in three years as World Series Champions.

"They're making this a habit," President Obama said, as he praised the team for last year's incredible season, a contrast to the losing streak the team is currently mired in.

The legendary Willie Mays, now 82, former centerfielder for the Giants and a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) were among the guests gathered on the sunny South Lawn.  The President was presented with team gifts, as is tradition:  Manager Bruce Bochy offered a World Series baseball and bat, signed by the team.

"I got a World Series ball and bat--and you should know that I can't read any of their signatures," President Obama quipped to more laughter.  "But it's greatly appreciated.  Thank you so much. "

Before departing the White House, Giants stars Barry Zito, Buster Posey, and Hunter Pence filmed a video for Mrs. Obama's Let's Move! campaign, as has become a tradition when championship teams visit the White House.  

Ahead of the ceremony, the President had lunch with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

*Top photo by Amanda Lucidon/White House.  The President is with manager Bruce Bochy.   White House video.  Garden rendering by EDG Design Group.