An Airline Just Opened a Farm at New York JFK Airport. And It’s Useless.

I get that this AP story by Scott Mayerowitz is covering what JetBlue intends to be a feel good effort but it really does strike me as silly and wasteful (albeit not as wasteful as spending $1.5 million on a new logo for DFW airport).

JetBlue has opened a farm at JFK airport. But it’s too small to actually grow anything useful for the airline. Instead it’s “meant to educate travelers more than actually feed them.”

One day, if the airport allows it, there might even be animals, such as bees and butterflies.

The goal is to try and teach people about farming and to improve the appearance of the terminal’s exterior.

“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 Sophia Leonora Mendelsohn, the New York-based airline’s head of sustainability. “Your flying experience starts on the ground.”

    Why Did the Tomato Blush?
    Because it Saw the Salad Dressing.

The farm isn’t even open to the public although pending future regulatory approval they hope to have programs for students, and possibly allow frequent flyers to sign up to visit.

It took three years to get approval for the farm, and they’re not permitted to grow “tomatoes, corn, berries, seeds or sunflowers” because it’s important not to attract birds to the airport. So they’re growing potatoes, chives, basil, and carrots plus “mint, arugula, beets, garlic, onions and spinach.”

If the potatoes have “the right amount of starch, sugar and moisture” they might eventually provide less than 1% of what’s necessary to make the quantity of terra chips given out onboard JetBlue flights.

Images: JetBlue

Are you more likely to fly JetBlue because of their JFK farm?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Also sounds disgusting. The amount of Jet A at any airport is carcinogenic and massively toxic. No thank you JB, I do not want.

  2. Not sure I’d want to eat any produce grown at an airport (or anywhere in a major city for that matter). Who knows what sort of fumes those plants are filtering out of the air….

  3. If it was my hobby farm, I would focus on flowers like Turk’s cap, some of the salvias, milkweed, mint, etc– flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. There’s no way a hummingbird could bring down an airplane or a dragonfly would be doing it too– at least in my garden, I see dragonflies the size of hummingbirds all the time. I guess I’m saying there are birds and there are birds. All birds are not of a size that can cause a problem. If it’s supposed to attract the frequent flyer, it should have flowers anyway. There’s nothing particularly eye-catching about potatoes and spinach, is there? I understand they can’t just have a lawn, the geese up there would be all over that. But personally I’d go with native butterfly flowers (that don’t need fertilizer and endless weeding) instead of crops that it will cost more than it’s worth to fertilize them, like potatoes and beets. If they’re just comparing the potato patch to having to pave it over, they haven’t thought through all their options.

  4. IIRC, Tortas Frontera was growing produce at O’Hare. My recollection is that it was successful.

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