This can definitely be found in the you-don't-see-this-every-day files! An urban farm located inside the airport at O'Hare. I was flying home from New York, and had to be redirected after the whole airport was closed at Dallas-Fort Worth; I ended up here, luckily, because I had no idea this had even been built. It's a 928-square-foot garden which opened in September of 2012, consisting of 26 of these aeroponic towers. The garden grows mostly herbs and vegetables such as chard, basil, lettuce, bell peppers and the ubiquitous tomato, which no garden is seemingly complete without! Three restaurants in the airport use the produce generated here: Wolfgang Puck, Tortas Fontera Grill and Wicker Park Sushi Bar. It also sometimes makes its way to a farmer's market located on the level below. There is also a seating area, where I hung out during my six-hour layover, but one drawback was the heat: the lights are blinding, and make sitting too close a bit uncomfortable, even in the winter in Chicago! Props for trying to do something healthy, but, at the risk of splitting hairs, it seems that this concept garden consumes an unimaginable amount of energy, which is needed to power the lights. It might be more economical and sustainable to grow these in structures more well-suited for the purpose off-site where these enormous, energy hog lights aren't needed. A good effort but I'm not sure the energy expenditure is worth the return: it seems quite a negative return on energy investment to grow a few organic herbs and veggies, which are widely available from urban farms elsewhere. Apparently there is a beehive somewhere on the premises also, which provides honey and wax used to make candles and lip balm. This is really a cool concept for an airport, and I would love to see it expanded, if they can find a way to make it energy efficient; hopefully solar panels or something similar can do the job.
Nobody has marked this note useful