Boston’s Fenway Park, home to Major League Baseball’s Red Sox, is America’s oldest active baseball stadium, which opened in 1912 and is known by the moniker “the Green Monster” courtesy of its towering, verdantly hued outfield wall.
Located in the city’s Kenmore Square area, the neighborhood is dominated by the ballpark and a handful of nightclubs and bars. Often referred to simply as Kenmore or Fenway, the stadium’s outfield wall has become so synonymous with the ballpark that it inspired paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore to offer a bespoke line of paints called “The Fenway Collection,” available for a time in select New England markets.
About a decade ago, the Red Sox organization decided to transform a section of Fenway’s rubberized roof into a working urban garden, transforming part of the 5,000-square-foot rubberized area into a working farm with the help of a company called Recover Green Roofs, based in nearby Somerville, Mass.
The building design firm specializes in planning, installing and maintaining green roofs, and capitalized on a then-fledgling movement of creating greenspaces in long-thought abandoned areas for agricultural production, transforming them into working farms within urban centers.
Called Fenway Farms, the rooftop farm opened in time for the start of the 2015 season and has been in operation since, with farmers starting prepping in March and operating as late as December, weather depending, according to Green City Growers, which manages the vegetative roof system.
According to Green City Growers, Fenway Farms uses a modular milk crate growing system encompassing 2,400 square feet of grow space. Carlisle supplied the original weatherproofing material, while a drip irrigation system provides water for soil that runs 10 inches deep.
According to Recover Green Roofs, the produce grown at Fenway Farms is used by stadium vendors and Kenmore's many neighborhood bars and restaurants. The volume of produce grown produces nearly three tons per season, including strawberries, squash, zucchini, tomatoes and peppers.
A recent article on CNN.com highlighted Green City Growers' work in maintaining Fenway Farms. The group’s President, Chris Grallert, a local farmer who grew up attending BoSox games, told CNN that growing crops around Fenway is nothing new, and the yearly harvest reduces the amount of produce the ballpark needs to buy by roughly 20%.
“In 1920, [the Kenmore area] ranked fifth in the nation for values of crops or fruits and vegetables, and all the communities around Boston had local markets and local gardens,” Grallert said. “Having a rooftop farm at Fenway Park is an amazing way to be a part of reinvigorating a local food production system.”
Photos courtesy of Green City Growers
*This article was updated on October 17, 2023.