JetBlue airline is opening its own farm at JFK airport to teach people about growing food and to improve the appearance of the terminal’s exterior.
If you’re an individual who spends quite a bit of time in airports, you know you’re better off packing snacks before checking in to avoid the low-nutrient (and over-priced) fare available between flights. Perhaps someday planning ahead won’t be such a necessity, however, if all airports follow the lead of JetBlue, an airline inspired to improve the taste and nutrition of food served at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The first airline to do something so epic, JetBlue seeks to improve the food offered to travelers by opening its own “farm” at JFK.
As ABC News reports, a 24,000 square-foot (less than half the size of a football field) plot of land will be farmed outside of JFK’s Terminal 5. Most of the food grown will be utilized in restaurants in the airport, and the rest will be donated to food banks in the city.
The aim of the farm is two-fold: to help people become more educated on farming, and to improve the exterior appearance of the terminal. Win-win!
“We know people like green space. It’s what they have at home. Why not put that at an airport if that’s what they love and want?” said Sophia Leonora Mendelsohn, the NY-based airline’s head of sustainability. “Your flying experience starts on the ground.”
Creating a farm at JFK was no small feat. Because the airport was concerned a garden would attract wildlife, such as birds that could endanger flights, JetBlue persisted for three years before it gained approval. Compromise came in the crops intended to be grown. For example, birds love tomatoes, corn, seeds and berries, so the farm will focus on growing potatoes, chives, basil, carrots, and other plant foods less attractive to them.
And a large amount of spuds it will produce: The airline expects to grow 1,000 potato plants, which will yield more than 1,000 pounds of spuds every four to six months, along with 1,100 plants such as mint, beets, garlic, arugula, onions, and spinach. Some of the potatoes might even be used to make the blue chips in Terra Blues, a snack served on all JetBlue flights.
One day, if the airport allows, there might even be animals, such as bees and butterflies
The innovative minds behind the project have been thinking long and hard how to successfully develop the JetBlue garden. All of the plants are to be grown in plastic milk crates that are bolted together and then tied to hooks on the cement floor – that way they don’t blow away.
JetBlue’s farm will be closed to the public the first few months it opens, and, pending approval, will eventually be open to students. The airline is planting a seed to produce a healthier environment for all travelers; let’s hope the concept sprouts and spreads!
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