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D-backs’ garden at Chase Field shows how greens can grow in Phoenix

(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)

PHOENIX — You’ve probably seen it on your way into Chase Field – a vertical garden growing a variety of fresh herbs and vegetables.

It’s called the D-backs Greens.

“There’s probably four different types of basils in here, from sweet basil and Thai basil,” Alex Billingsley, founder of Flower Street Urban Gardens, said Wednesday. “Also there’s chives and then also there’s some peppers.”

His company was contacted by the Arizona Diamondbacks three years ago to bring a garden to the stadium. The D-backs Greens planters have been adorning Chase Field’s exterior wall along Jefferson and Fourth streets for two years.

“The whole goal of the garden is to not only show people that you can grow food here all year round in Arizona … but also to be able to educate,” Billingsley said. “We’re really trying to educate people and the community at large about gardening, health and wellness.”

A group of volunteers from UnitedHealthcare, which sponsors the garden, harvested the garden Wednesday.

Lisa Contreras, regional communications director with UnitedHealthcare, said the point of putting the garden in a high-trafficked area outside the baseball stadium “is so that people can see that urban gardening is actually convenient and accessible to them.”

“We want people to see that it’s not that hard to commit to growing some of your own herbs and vegetables and to having that kind of healthy food in your diet,” she said.

The greens harvested at the garden are used by chefs at restaurants inside Chase Field. They’re also donated to local nonprofit groups and schools for use in their kitchens.

“We’re trying to get people to understand just how important it is to be able to grow your own food and also that you can grow your own food here in the Valley, even when it’s 115 degrees outside,” said Jeff Campbell, a spokesman for the Diamondbacks.

Campbell added the garden is part of the team’s efforts to make an impact through sustainability, including the APS Solar Pavilion, which generates 75 kilowatts of solar power.

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