An EzGro Garden At Amalie Arena

An EzGro Garden At Amalie Arena

Towers Provide Fresh Produce at Hockey Arena

What types of food do you eat while watching an ice hockey game at a stadium?  For most people, the answer would be pizza, chicken wings and beer.  A hockey stadium in Tampa, Florida has changed this norm to include fresh produce on the menu for both hockey players and fans alike.

Amalie Arena, home to the Tampa Bay Lightening, partnered with Urban Oasis (an official EzGro Garden distributor) and Delaware North (their foodservice company) to construct a beautiful hydroponic tower garden on site.  They built a deck in a back area that had previously been home to cooling equipment and recycling bins.  This large EzGro tower garden was constructed in the summer of 2014, and has been producing loads of fresh food ever since.  It has also contributed to the arena’s sustainability initiatives.

Space Saving Design

The horizontal growing space on the deck is just 80-feet by 14-feet, but growing vertically means that this space is equivalent to one acre of farmland.  That’s right, in just over 1100 square feet, the Amalie Arena is able to grow the same amount of food vertically, that would require an entire acre of horizontal land to grow.  There are a total of 125 hydroponic towers, and each tower is stacked with seven EzGro pots.  With 3,000 growing spots, this is the largest commercial hydroponic garden in the Southeastern United States!

Grow-media in the pots consists of a mixture of perlite and coconut coir, providing an optimal combination of water retention and air circulation for roots of food crops.  A 900-gallon tank beneath the deck allows the garden’s irrigation to be recirculating.  Reusing nutrient-rich water to irrigate plants uses 90% less water than a typical drain-to-waste soil garden.  The recirculating system cuts down on labor, too, as the tank only needs to be refilled every 10 days or so.  Towers are neatly arranged in two long rows, with several feet in between for space to harvest and tend to the garden.  Chefs are often spotted in the garden harvesting produce and brainstorming ideas for new dishes.

Let Them Eat…Salad

Florida’s unique growing season, which runs from September through May and only slows down during summer months, coincides perfectly with hockey season.  That makes this an ideal growing situation for the warm-weather ice hockey team.  Garden manager Chris Depree says they are growing enough lettuce and herbs to provide food for the entire stadium on a typical day.

Bruce Ground, General Manager of SportService, along with a team of culinary experts, have paved the way for fresh food at the Arena.  Executive chef Rich Mathis is impressed with the quality and taste of the extremely local hydroponic produce, and adds it to salads and entrees all over the arena.

The garden supplies fresh vegetables to Firestick Grill, an upscale buffet restaurant located right inside the arena.  Fresh food from the tower garden is also served in the VIP Chase Club, as well as the arena’s suites.

The garden allows the arena to grow and serve more unique produce that you might not see in the average grocery store, never mind at a hockey stadium.  Butterhead lettuce and mesclun mix are among the leafy greens grown at Amalie Arena, along with several different varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplant.  Growing produce on-site ensures quality and freshness, because produce can be harvested when ripe and brought directly inside- no need to transport the produce on refrigerated trucks.  The stadium also saves money on foodservice by growing some of its own food.

It’s Easier Being Green

The hockey arena has implemented various sustainability initiatives over the past few years, including a large-scale recycling program.  They have also implemented different ways to conserve water and energy in the arena.  The closed-loop EzGro system saves 300,000 gallons of water each year just by recirculating the nutrient solution!

In 2015, Amalie Arena was recognized by VenuesToday for its energy conservation and green programs.  They were honored with the Best Sustainability Initiative.  In early 2015, they were also ranked as one of the top five arenas in the world.

The EzGro Garden at Amalie Arena is a big leap toward making hydroponic farming more mainstream.  The Garden has received press coverage from numerous news outlets, and is setting the stage for green initiatives at stadiums and other public spaces around the globe.

Texas farm goes vertical to net tall yields

RED ROCK — In an area of Texas known by locals as “East of Weird” because of its proximity to progressive Austin, a farm is yielding many bushels of fruit and vegetables on a space no larger than a parking space. Being a “computer guy from San Antonio,” now-farmer Larry Johnson READ MORE News Related Article

Miami Science Barge

The Miami Science Barge is a floating laboratory and environmental education center. Situated on Biscayne Bay in downtown Miami, it is a platform to encourage Miami to become a more ecologically conscious city. The Barge is entirely self sufficient, and does not need to be connected to the city for water READ MORE Commercial Systems, News Related Article

Seeds of Knowledge, Chicago, IL

Namrita Narula, a teenager in Chicago, IL, is committed to solving problems that most people her age, or any age for that matter, don’t even think about.  Her mission is to combat food insecurity in the North Shore section of Chicago, and she is doing so in some very important READ MORE News Related Article

Gartner Callaway Sustainability Company

Gartner Callaway Sustainability Company Ltd is a procurement, distribution and advisory services company focused on sustainable development in Africa and beyond. We strive to meet the present needs of our clients without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs by incorporating sustainable practice models within our READ MORE Commercial Systems, Distributor Related Article

Vera Street Farms in Texas

Vera Street Farms is situated in China, Texas and is a very productive, welcoming farm. They got started with EzGro towers in 2013. The farm specializes in growing strawberries and satsumas, and they grow plenty of each! Vera Street Farms uses 5,000 EzGro pots to grow 20,000 strawberry plants per season. READ MORE Commercial Systems Related Article

Trackbacks and pingbacks

No trackback or pingback available for this article.

Leave a reply