Inside Peek at O’Hare Airport’s Vertical Farm

January 23, 2012 by


Photo: Future Growing

After traveling a lot for the majority of my career, airport delays are usually not something I get excited about. However, a recent (cancelled) trip from Columbus, Ohio to my home in Chicago (and a resulting wait for delayed luggage) gave me the opportunity to visit the new urban garden in O’Hare Airport.


Photo: LaManda Joy

Set in a seemingly unused nook of the G Terminal, a mezzanine space has been transformed into a high-tech urban garden. I see a lot of projects like this one – usually they have a DIY vibe that is quite inspiring (hey, even I could do that!) This urban garden however looked like it came out of a ride at Disney.


Photo: Future Growing

The genius behind the O’Hare installation is Future Growing LLC, the same company responsible for the amazing rooftop garden that fuels the kitchens of New York City restaurant, Bell, Book and Candle, where I dined on a recent visit to that city.


Photo: Future Growing

A series of vertical PVC towers with high-powered (“wear your sunglasses” high-powered) lights grow a variety of herbs, greens, edible flowers and a few tomato plants. Signage shows where the produce will end up–Wolfgang Puck at the airport seemed to be a major end user.


Edible flowers on one tower, and on the other, lettuce ready to package for the airports restaurants. Photo: Future Growing

Water receptacles under the towers house pumps that manage recirculation of water and nutrients. The towers are set on casters so they spin for easy maintenance and harvest.


Photo: LaManda Joy

What looks like the most comfortable chairs in the airport are set up around the installation with tables to create a park-like setting. Between the view of the runways and the “sunny” urban garden I now know where I’ll be killing time for the next delayed flight.


Photo:
LaManda Joy

About Our Guest Author
LaManda Joy ‘s name is so appropriate for her–she really is a joy–as well as creative, industrious, and passionate about her vision. She is founder of The Peterson Garden Project, a successful modern day Chicago Victory Garden, and she also chronicles the joys of her home edible urban garden via The Yarden. LaManda is a Master Gardener and edible garden advocate who wants everyone she meets to grow their own food… seriously!

44 Comments »

  1. Diane said:

    This is so cool! Where exactly is terminal G? Next time I go to the airport, I need to see this.

    — January 23, 2012 @ 18:31

  2. Sylvia Walker said:

    I love this idea, but with all those lights, I’m concerned about the amount of energy that is being used. A solar or renewable source? I hope!

    — January 24, 2012 @ 00:24

  3. Rebecca said:

    This is probably one of the most amazing things! I hope other airports catch on.

    — January 24, 2012 @ 03:07

  4. Annie Haven | Authentic Haven Brand said:

    Wonderful to see

    — January 24, 2012 @ 11:40

  5. bites | Zestz Pingback said:

    […] -> Vliegveld heeft verticale moestuin Het O’Hare vliegveld in de VS heeft een verticale moestuin. (Urbangardensweb.com) […]

    — January 29, 2012 @ 04:47

  6. Culinair nieuws in 19 foodbites: stadsmoestuinboek voor kinderen | Zestz Pingback said:

    […] -> Vliegveld heeft verticale moestuin Het O’Hare vliegveld in de VS heeft een verticale moestuin. (Urbangardensweb.com) […]

    — January 29, 2012 @ 04:48

  7. Darlene said:

    This is fabulous! It would be great if all buildings had indoor gardens.

    — February 17, 2012 @ 12:08

  8. Robin Plaskoff Horton said:

    Good question Sylvia…I would like to find the answer.

    — February 24, 2012 @ 19:05

  9. Electric Fertilizer » Grow More Food in Less Space Using Electricity » Electric Fertilizer Pingback said:

    […] look of these things, you can try some high density vertical gardens like the ones grown at Chicago O’Hare’s Urban Garden.  <add photo from site>.  Alternatively, to accomplish the same thing on a dime over one of […]

    — April 16, 2012 @ 18:55

  10. Natalie Zaranti Lazear said:

    They are Tower Gardens. I can sell you some or one if you’d like. Please visit my sister company website for information. Once there, send me an email and I will get you more information on the Tower Garden
    http://www.juiceplus.com/+nz88037

    — May 8, 2012 @ 21:52

  11. Romig said:

    Absolutely stunning. Beautiful. I wish more businesses would do things like this.

    — June 4, 2012 @ 21:20

  12. Kathryn said:

    What an awesome garden! I love it that the vegetables are all used at the airport.

    — June 23, 2012 @ 20:07

  13. Will Paris Go Bananas for This Urban Vertical Plantation? | Urban Gardens | Unlimited Thinking For Limited Spaces | Urban Gardens Pingback said:

    […] within a medium-sized glass enclosed Parisian commercial building, the mini vertical farm would also function as a sort of urban botanical garden or vertical […]

    — August 10, 2012 @ 16:43

  14. Eric said:

    I do vertical gardening in my community garden by growing 70+ 6ft+ tall heirloom tomatoes 1.5″x 1.5″ feet apart heavily pruned and tied to 8ft 2×2″steaks. We use 10″ PVC for subterainian worm farms but it prohibitive due to the high cost of PVC. What is the material, does it leach and how much does it cost per foot or do you buy these as complete kits? Now I think I should read the article.

    — December 3, 2012 @ 13:52

  15. Tasty Winter Tomatoes Are Trending Thanks to Greenhouse Farming | Farm Flavor Pingback said:

    […] greenhouses are coming on the scene as well, with a new garden spot already in place at Chicagos O’Hare Airport. But how do these tomatoes grow indoors? Farmers are turning to hydroponic farming, which means […]

    — December 7, 2012 @ 11:01

  16. Professor Gravity said:

    They stole my idea. I discovered this type of agriculture system many years ago. They are taking credit for something that they did nor discover and I demand they stop immediately!!

    Here is a link to my product for all to see that these people are nothing but rip-offs:

    http://youtu.be/D_lG_q2ChRs

    I did not only discover these types of tubular agriculture systems, but I also discovered several different other types:

    youtube,com/highriseagriculture

    Professor Gravity

    — March 12, 2013 @ 13:56

  17. Kiven White said:

    Wow! Pretty. I like these. Thanks for sharing.blog

    — April 16, 2013 @ 02:47

  18. frank said:

    best place to hang out in Ohare…. its funny, no guest knows of this place, however ALL the pilots and attendants know of it because its so quiet and theres a lot of Comfy Chairs 🙂 theres a nice bar below it too

    — July 26, 2013 @ 15:16

  19. Robin Horton said:

    Ah, Professor Gravity, so many great minds think alike!

    — July 26, 2013 @ 16:33

  20. Robin Horton said:

    Thanks for the tip Frank! Next time I have a layover at O’Hare, I will check out that bar. 🙂

    — July 26, 2013 @ 16:34

  21. Robin Horton said:

    There is a link in the post to the manufacturer, Future Growing, of these particular vertical gardens. I know there are few similar designs out there as well. They say they are made of food safe plastic.

    — July 26, 2013 @ 16:35

  22. Robin Horton said:

    Thank Kathryn, I agree!

    — July 26, 2013 @ 16:36

  23. Robin Horton said:

    Ditto!!

    — July 26, 2013 @ 16:36

  24. Robin Horton said:

    Can’t agree with you more Darlene.

    — July 26, 2013 @ 16:36

  25. Robin Horton said:

    Thanks Annie!!

    — July 26, 2013 @ 16:37

  26. Robin Horton said:

    I’d love to se this at other airports.

    — July 26, 2013 @ 16:37

  27. Robin Horton said:

    I don’t know, but I’m sure the airport’s website has a map of the terminals.

    — July 26, 2013 @ 16:37

  28. Innovation of the Month: Aeroponic Technology Pingback said:

    […] to teach children about plants, the environment, and the value of healthy eating, and the Chicago O’Hare International Airport has even set aside a portion of its G Terminal to grow greens for airport […]

    — September 5, 2013 @ 05:20

  29. O'Hare Urban Gardens Pingback said:

    […] So, on your next time through O’Hare, if you have some downtime between flights, check out the neat urban garden space on your way to the G concourse. I’m sure on a winter’s day it’s very inviting. Check out a few more pictures of these gardens at Urban Gardens Web. […]

    — October 1, 2013 @ 16:47

  30. Chicago Airport Adds Yoga Room Pingback said:

    […] scenes.” Is a part of green and healthy theme in the rotunda at Terminal 3: There is already an urban garden onsite where vegetables are grown for use in the airport restaurants and […]

    — December 16, 2013 @ 13:19

  31. Chicago Airport Adds Yoga Room | Pingback said:

    […] scenes.” Is a part of green and healthy theme in the rotunda at Terminal 3: There is already an urban garden onsite where vegetables are grown for use in the airport restaurants and […]

    — December 16, 2013 @ 15:31

  32. Airport Gardening? | Lafayette Community Garden Pingback said:

    […] recently and arrived at the O’hare airport you may have seen something remarkable – the vertical farm in G […]

    — February 11, 2014 @ 18:51

  33. Chicago Airport Adds Yoga Room | Yoga JournalYoga Journal Pingback said:

    […] scenes.” Is a part of green and healthy theme in the rotunda at Terminal 3: There is already an urban garden onsite where vegetables are grown for use in the airport restaurants and […]

    — May 15, 2014 @ 16:43

  34. Andreas said:

    That is fantastic! Can someone give me the adress where I can buy the plant bucket? I want to use it in my restaurant

    — August 6, 2015 @ 08:14

  35. Pei Kang said:

    fantastic idea! every airport should have this

    — October 1, 2015 @ 10:24

  36. JetBlue's New JFK Airport T5 Rooftop Urban Farm Serves Up Farm-to-Air Greens - Urban Gardens Pingback said:

    […] It’s not the first airport with an indoor farm: inside the G Terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare there’s an aeroponic garden with a bunch of hydroponic towers that supply some of the […]

    — October 29, 2015 @ 14:23

  37. JetBlue’s New JFK Airport T5 Rooftop Urban Farm Serves Up Farm-to-Air Greens | Bring Back the Farm Pingback said:

    […] It’s not the first airport with an indoor farm: inside the G Terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare there’s an aeroponic garden with a bunch of hydroponic towers that supply some […]

    — November 20, 2015 @ 12:06

  38. Aquaponic Indoor Gardening for Farming in the City – Saving the Green Pingback said:

    […] In any case, now, Tower Gardens have rearranged the customary planting utilizing the extraordinary Vertical Garden System […]

    — January 27, 2016 @ 23:59

  39. Aquaponic Indoor Gardening for City Based Farming | WorldWide Aquaculture Pingback said:

    […] In any case, now, Tower Gardens have rearranged the customary planting utilizing the extraordinary Vertical Garden System […]

    — January 28, 2016 @ 00:02

  40. Anthony McEvoy said:

    Did you ever find where to get the plant buckets?

    — November 20, 2016 @ 21:11

  41. Prescilla Martinez-Perales said:

    Yes I know please let me know if you like info..they are not even that expensive

    — June 14, 2017 @ 12:20

  42. Michael Optie said:

    Is this open to the general public, or is it beyond security?

    — October 28, 2017 @ 12:47

  43. PBZ said:

    This is awesome but I’m really disappointed it’s created by the Juice Plus company (MLM scheme).

    — April 30, 2018 @ 14:47

  44. PBZ said:

    See? MLM scheme.

    — April 30, 2018 @ 14:48

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

The freshest innovative and eco-friendly designs, trends, and ideas for urban gardens and stylish small places.

Visit Robin Horton @UrbanGardens's profile on Pinterest.