By Ricky Richardson

Contributing Writer

        Inglewood, CA.- NFL Green kicked off Super Bowl LVI community greening projects last fall in Inglewood, by planting 56 trees at Edward Vincent Jr. Park and concluded Green Week events in the City of Champions, Super Bowl Host City.

        On Saturday, January 29th, 9am-12pm, The City of Inglewood partnered with NFL Green, The Super Bowl Host Committee and Verizon for the Queen Park Improvement Project. A group of energetic, enthusiastic volunteers replaced soil and planted twenty raised gardens beds, planted camphor trees, painted picnic tables, benches, planter boxes, cleaned and beautified the quaint Queen Park Community Garden, on a nice, cool overcast day. Queen Park Community Garden is located 652 E. Queen Street, a half block west of Prairie Avenue.

        The Social Justice Learning Institute overseas the garden and uses it for classes and activities. Derrick Steele, Nicole Steele, Rafael Sanchez, Ashley Laville, and Paul Terry of The Social Justice Learning Institute led volunteers in the garden planting. This consisted of top-dressing planting beds and planted new beds. The garden features spinach, egg plants, tomatoes, artichokes, herbs, lots of flowers and California native plants.

        The program got underway with welcome remarks from Jack Groh, Director, NFL Environmental Program, followed by James T. Butts Jr., Mayor, City of Inglewood, Susan Groh, Associate Director, NFL Environmental Program, Erica Jacquez, Verizon, and Christopher Hicks, Los Angeles Super bowl Host Committee. Sabrina Barnes, Director, Inglewood Parks, Recreation and Community Services were acknowledged for the outstanding job in putting together today’s program.

        The Queen Park Community Garden was initially constructed in 2011 and is part of a neighborhood park. The garden in maintained by the City of Inglewood with support of community volunteers. This project brought together a diverse group of volunteers, Fraternities, Sororities, high school and college students and local organizations to revitalize the garden and create a safe place for children to play, learn and grow. Offerings in the “new” garden space will include gardening, cooking and composting classes. Volunteers were from the following orgs/groups:

American Legion Post 578, Boeing, Brentwood School, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Los Angeles Rams, NFL,NFL Media, NFL Network, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., One For All-OFA, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Queens With Goals, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., Sigma Zeta Council, Social Justice Learning Institute, SoFi Stadium at Hollywood Park, The Dobby garden, The Essix Experience, UCLA, University High School Charter, Urban Scholar Academy, WLM Financial/ WLM Realty, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.

        The National Football League has incorporated environmental projects into their management of tent pole events for nearly 30 years. NFL Green is the NFL’s sustainability program which aims to reduce the environmental impact of events and leave a positive “green” legacy in host communities. These efforts include food recovery, and distribution, recycling and solid waste management.

        Super Bowl LVI NFL “Green Week” featured a variety of events prior to the Queen Park Community Garden. Here is a rundown of “Green Week” events:

City of San Fernando Street Planting, Saturday, January 22nd, at 502 N. Huntington Street, San Fernando, CA.

Championship Dive Kelp Forest Restoration, January 24th, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro, CA.

Super Kids-Super Sharing sports equipment book and school supply donations project, Thursday, January 27th, Collins and Katz Family YMCA, 1466 S. Westgate Avenue, Los Angeles, CA.

During Super Bowl LVI, a unique fan engagement project called “Green and Win” will be implemented. Fans caught in the act of recycling may win a unique Super bowl hat and have their photos posted on NFL social media.

        The final “passing of the golden shovel” community greening event will take place later this year. That event will mark the passing of Super Bowl community greening projects from Los Angeles to Phoenix, site of Super Bowl LVII.