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Now arriving at Chicago's O'Hare Airport: garden fresh food

chicago o'hare aeroponic garden ribbon cutting

Airport food is generally only memorable for the high prices we pay for such lackluster fare. We don’t expect much more than this, and we’re happy if we can get it quickly enough to make our connection. That’s been the standard for as long as I can remember, but it turns out that as of mid-September, you can now add “fresh” and “nutritious” to the options at one US airport. Chicago’s O’Hare now has four restaurants that buy local produce for their menus, and, in these cases, “local” means “grown at the airport.”  The airport has opened the world’s first “aeroponic” garden in Terminal 2, which grows “44 different types of organic herbs and vegetables” for use at Tortas Frontera, Wicker Park Seafood and Sushi, Blackhawks Restaurant and Tuscany.

I was initially a little suspicious about the “organic” label, as the the aeroponic process is similar to hydroponics (which generally isn’t allowed USDA organic certification), but the use of volcanic rock as a nutrient source seems like it might pass here. I’d definitely like to know more about the energy use required, but considering the lack of local produce (or even produce altogether) in most airport food, I still think this is an awfully cool idea. The garden also serves as a novelty for harried travelers. Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino claims it creates a “tranquil area” in the terminal.

I like it. What do you think? Ready for produce grown onsite at the airport?

via Ecorazzi

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Image: The ribbon cutting for the new garden. Credit: HMS Host