Jet Blue's Urban Farm

The Lempert Report
November 12, 2015

Right outside the JetBlue terminal at New York City's JFK airport.


JetBlue has a new destination, and it might not be what anyone's expecting… it's an urban farm! Where exactly?  Right outside the JetBlue terminal at New York City's JFK airport. So how exactly does it work and what exactly will they grow? We found out all the details from Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue’s Head of Sustainability.
We were brainstorming about what people love at home, where would we rather be other than the stereotype of a stressful airport? And I started looking into studies about what make people like  hospitals, hotel lobbies, and we started seeing, more and more that physical green space did calm people down and makes it a nicer customer experience. 
Jetlbue is lucky enough to have a 24,000 sq foot piece of empty land, right next to the customer experience area - we knew we wanted to add green to it so we thought ok what are all the things that happen at an airport? It needs to be secure because airports are secure spaces, it needs to be able to withstand a hurricane it can't attract birds because birds are very dangerous for airplanes, so we designed the entire layout making sure we were not attracting food and habitat for birds. 
Everytime I thought someone was going to say no, they said yes.  There seemed to be a huge universal desire to push this forward, to connect with food, to understand that this was a good thing we could strive for. 
We have over 30 different types of plants our cornerstone vegetable is of course blue potato, we also have carrot, kale, beet, lettuce, arugula, 15 different types of herbs - quite a good amount of produce which is why we believe that the garden is defined as a farm, this is thousands of pounds of produce. 
It's going three places, one we're looking at restaurants inside this terminal. For example we're going mojito mint, people like mojitos before they get on airplanes. We're donating a lot of it to local food banks and local organizations that connect children with healthy food. And three we're donating it to crew members.