The fate of the San Diego Chargers dominates the news these days. Even though we have been talking about a new stadium for 15 years, the situation became urgent when the clock started ticking down on proposals to the north in Los Angeles and in Carson to lure the team away from San Diego.
It all boils down to money. How will we pay for a new stadium, wherever it ends up? We all know development could pay for it, but who wants to pave over more of the city or add more cars to the roads?
No one’s gotten around to asking me, and that’s too bad because I have the perfect plan to keep the Chargers in town. Interested?
Boston has the Green Monster, and these days it’s really green. San Diego needs the Green Roof Monster. Let’s cover the roof of the new stadium with a farm!
Even today, agriculture remains among the largest industries in San Diego. Thanks to our temperate weather, we can grow anything. Yes, our water shortage is severe. But think about all the prime real estate available if we were to build a huge new stadium. You have the roof or at least large portions even with a retractable ceiling. You have all the walls. These structures are built incredibly strong. They could accommodate numerous types of edible living roofs and edible living wall systems.
What plants would yield the most income? There is a website devoted to this topic, ProfitablePlants.com After doing a little research, these are my top five choices.
Believe it or not, lavender is the single most profitable crop per square foot. This is due to its versatility and efficiency. The fresh flowers can be sold for display or oils. Flowers can also be dried and sold. It’s used in aromatherapy and skin care products. Nothing is wasted. It also has the benefit of flourishing in our climate on minimal water.
Specialty mushrooms are hot, hot, hot right now. They will grow indoors and they produce a high return for square foot. Oyster and shiitake mushrooms are the most popular. They are most prized when fresh. Neither travel very well, which is an advantage for local growers who can sell them to stores, farmer’s markets, and restaurants.
Potted bamboo plants sell for as much as $150 each. They are extremely popular right now with landscapers and homeowners because it is a versatile, hardy, low-water use choice. Growers have trouble keeping up with demand. You can grow thousands of dollars worth of bamboo for sale in a small backyard nursery. Imagine how much money you could make growing bamboo as practice field screening.
Not just any garlic, but “gourmet garlic” could turn into the smell of success. There are three types of gourment garlics: Hardneck, Rocambole, and Purplestripe. Garlic snobs are willing to pay big prices for them. They cost up to $10 per pound. Elephant garlic is also a bit moneymaker. Its cloves are worth up to $8 per pound. One acre can produce 15,000 pounds: do the math. Garlic tolerates nearly any type of soil or weather. Garlic growers call it the “mortgage lifter.”
More people use fresh herbs for cooking, natural medicinal uses, and for fragrance and aromatherapy. They are easy to grow, can thrive in little space and with minimal water.
Chargers Chiles? Bolts Beets? Spanos Spinach? Touchdown Turnips?
And if another certain type of herb ever becomes completely legal, imagine the potential for profit. It makes the slogan “This Bud’s For You” take on a whole new meaning as an NFL sponsor.
All kidding aside, whatever type of development takes place in Mission Valley when a final decision about the Qualcomm property is made, stadium or not, it’s important for our city to integrate nature and plants as much as possible into the final designs.