In the week leading up to the National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl LV, the league built a community garden, compost center, and fruit tree orchard in Tampa Bay, FL. The environmental restoration projects took place at the site of the February 7th, 2021 sporting event as part of Super Bowl LV “Green Week.”
The events were held at the Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful Environmental Education Center and Mango Recreation Center. Tampa Bay’s new hydroponic community garden, pollinator garden, compost center, and fruit tree orchard will support local organizations’ efforts to feed and educate the community about nutrition and food sustainability.
NFL Green, the league’s 28-year-old environmental program, organized the effort. Associate Director of NFL Green Susan Groh tells Food Tank, “The goal of NFL Green is to reduce the environmental impact of our events and to go well beyond that to leave a positive ‘green’ legacy in the communities that host our events.” The NFL plans to donate US$250,000 to Feeding Tampa Bay (FTB) to combat food insecurity in addition to unused Super Bowl food such as chicken wings, beef tenderloins, and ribs. “It’s not unusual to donate 40,000 or 50,000 pounds of food and beverages from Super Bowl events,” Groh tells Food Tank.
NFL Green partnered with multiple local and multinational corporate sponsors for Super Bowl LV “Green Week” including Tampa Electric, Verizon, Oikos, Castrol, Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity. Tampa Bay previously collaborated with the National Hockey League (NHL) to build a hydroponic garden in Amalie Arena, home of the NHL team Tampa Bay Lightning.
The most popular annual U.S. sporting event, the Super Bowl averages over 100 million viewers per year. “Super Bowl is America’s largest championship sports event and literally has the eyes of the world upon it,” says Groh. “If we can draw attention to environmental issues, that’s a win.”
Photo courtesy of NFL Green