We enjoyed nearly every good thing that summer in Wisconsin has to offer Saturday afternoon at Miller Park.
First, we geared up and met family members for one of those win-or-lose-we-know-we’ll-have-fun afternoons at the ballpark. The sun shone, the roof stayed open and, thanks to the days theme, super heroes roamed the park.
Then, the Brewers did win, as Yasmani Grandal went two-for-three with two runs and two RBIs to boost Milwaukee over the Reds 6-5.
While all that was going on, I also discovered the state’s coolest food stand. Roots for the Home Team sells fresh salads made from produce grown in Milwaukee area community gardens.
Even better, the whole operation, from gardening, to creating the salad, to selling the finished product comes courtesy of local teenagers.
Roots for the Home Team director Bonnie Halverson guides the enthusiastic young people through every step. A founder of Learn-Grow-Eat-Milwaukee, Halversen already had been providing an urban agriculture experience for Milwaukee high school students through her program, which offers both paid summer jobs to students aged 15-19 and the unique experience of growing, harvesting, selling and eating their own food.
“Roots youth get exposed to the entire local food circle: from soil to seed to salad to service to sale,” she said. “They learn about organic composted soil and planting seeds in their urban ag program (in this case Groundwork Green team). When they join Roots, they work with chefs to develop their delicious salads, and come to the park to learn how excellent service turns into sales.”
Roots for the Home Team, which began in Minnesota with the Twins, allows student participants to take the ingredients they grew, work with area chefs to develop a recipe, and then sell the salad they’ve grown and created at professional ball parks.
I had the South House Summer Salad with chicken and it was delicious — fresh greens with sweet strawberries, quinoa and a poppy seed dressing.
When I tipped them, the whole cart team stopped, smiled and thanked me. You can add excellent customer service to the long list of skills the participants in this program develop.
I’d love to see this program expand northward to Lambeau.
How does Grid Iron Gardens sound?
Roots for the Home Team operate out of a stand on the field level of Section 119. They be there on for weekend games June 29-30, July 13-14, July 27-28, August 10-11, August 24-25, September 7-8 and September 21-22.