JetBlue Airways, which knows all about transporting people from the city to the country and vice versa, is now embarking on a project which will quite literally bring a little bit of the country to one of the world’s biggest and busiest cities – New York.
The airline has announced it is creating its own “farm” outside Terminal 5 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in partnership with nonprofit GrowNYC, an environmental group that focuses on “greening” New York City “block by block”.
Sophia Leonora Mendelsohn, JetBlue’s head of sustainability, says although the farm is meant to educate travelers rather than feed them, the airline eventually wants to serve items grown there inside airport restaurants.
She says one day, if airport authorities allow, the farm may have bees, butterflies and even animals.
“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?” says Mendelsohn
The airline expects to grow 1,000 potato plants, yielding more than 1,000 pounds of spuds every four to six months, along with an additional 1,100 plants such as mint, chives, arugula, basil, beets, garlic, onions, spinach and carrots. Some of the herbs will be used by restaurants in JetBlue’s terminal, while other produce will be donated to local food banks.
GrowNYC will bring in students from local area schools to learn about gardening.
Mendelsohn says it took Jetblue three years to get approval from airport officials for the project.
She says airports are concerned about anything that would attract wildlife, especially birds, which means there will be no corn, berries, seeds or sunflowers grown on the JetBlue farm.
All plants will be grown in plastic milk crates bolted together and tied to hooks in the cement floor around Terminal 5.