When professional sports come to mind, “environmentally-conscious” does not usually follow in the same line of thought. Large parking lots, bright lights and plenty of trash are much more commonly associated with sports stadiums.
However, the San Diego Padres’ food trucks are working to change this reputation, and have made several important steps toward making the ultimate American pastime sustainable as well as entertaining.
Petco Park, the Padres’ home field, is quickly becoming known for providing some of the best food in the city. They do this by focusing on sustainable food, which is why they buy most of their food from local farms. In fact, than 95% of food sold from food trucks at Petco Park is from local farms in Southern California. Their commitment to sustainability outstrips any other team, and they were recently recognized by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Green Sports Alliance when they named “Champion of Game Day Food”.
The food is so good that it is has significantly increased food sales at Padres games. The vice president and chief hospitality officer for the Padres, Scott Marshall, says that “-people are coming to the ballpark earlier to have a meal, they’re staying later. Typically our locations would close at the seventh inning.”
The food trucks of Petco Park demonstrate that sustainability does not need to compete with economic concerns. In particular, food is an excellent way to attract people to adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Food that only travels a short distance before reaching plates and stomachs is fresher, so it tastes better. It also emits less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Matt Hoffman, who first reported on the Padres’ eco-friendly actions for local station KPBS, explains that sustainable food is not the only way the Padres are reducing their impact. They also use leftover cooking oil to make biodiesel, some of which powers the lawn mowers used to keep the grass short.
In fact, Petco Park’s waste diversion is at 77% right now, and they plan to reach 80% by the end of the year.