MLB Hosts All-Star Sustainable Gardening Event in Denver
DENVER – The very first time anyone walks into a major league baseball stadium, they’re invariably in awe of the lush green field that opens up before them – often right in the middle of town. It is therefore appropriate at this level and many others that Major League Baseball is committed to “greening” the parks and the communities that surround them.
John Schwarz, senior community affairs coordinator for MLB, spoke of the league’s sustainability efforts as a way for MLB to hold itself accountable for tackling climate change while pursuing its goal of building community. . MLB covered all the bases on Friday, putting their commitment into action with a volunteer event in Denver to create an outdoor classroom in the Morey Middle School Community Garden, a few blocks from the heart of downtown. city. They planted trees and other plants, did handy composting, and prepared an area for picnic tables in the middle of the garden for students and community members to immerse themselves in an experimental classroom. .
Between 30 and 40 volunteers came out and were energized by going back outside, having human interaction and putting their hands to work for the community. It was a great turnout one day with a 102 degree high temperature expected. With two more sustainability events elsewhere in town, MLB easily exceeded its goal of mobilizing 75 volunteers as part of its efforts to invest in the community.
“MLB has always strived to leave a lasting legacy for the community – and the Green All-Star Team is one of them,” said Schwarz. “We just want to leave something behind. After the All-Star Game is over and the last pitch is thrown, the last out is made and we’re off, we want to make sure Denver and the surrounding area has had an impact other than just baseball events.
They turned to two local organizations – Spark the Change Colorado and Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) – to help them set up the right project on the ground.
“It’s just amazing to see such participation,” said Lara Fahnestock, senior director of operations at DUG. “Especially with the younger generations, it seems like there is a real emphasis on giving back and taking care of the climate and being here to do something like that. Great way to do both.
DUG coordinates 188 community gardens in the Denver metro area – and these gardens produce more than 600,000 pounds of food, much of which goes to food banks. But this project had been on their wishlist for years.
“Having space to teach students where their food comes from will be a great way to educate them about hunger and what they can do to help,” Fahnestock said.
Spark the Change Colorado, the event’s other partner, encourages volunteering in every type of activity imaginable.
“Our mission is really to use volunteerism as a strategy to meet the needs of the community and to build peace, equity and inclusion,” said Kelly Groen, director of mental wellness at Spark the Change Colorado. . “We engage volunteers in these areas of need and meet the needs with volunteer skills. “
Some of the volunteers were clearly inspired to participate because of their love of the game. There was a lot of purple pride on display, as community members dug the ground and prepared the ground for a tree which will hopefully provide still shadows in 100 years.
But just as the MLB and the Rockies pitched their followers to sustainable gardening, the pitches have gone both ways.
“I don’t know baseball, but I love gardening,” said a volunteer.
Jackie Rader loves volunteering. She spends most of her volunteer time as a high school Ultimate Frisbee coach, but the event jumped out at her when she heard about it. She came to volunteer with three coworkers.
“The more we can do with community gardens and the communities that really need it, the better,” Rader said. “There are weird food deserts in urban areas, so the more community gardens you can provide, the more you tackle the problem of a food desert.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton”, defined “legacy” as “planting seeds in a garden you will never see”. MLB may never see what grows in the planted garden on Friday – and the volunteers themselves may not even see the fruits of their efforts. But they can be content knowing that these seeds will grow and contribute to the community for generations to come.