1st Aeroponic Garden at Any Airport in the World!
In the summer of 2011, the CDA and HMS Host Corporation collaborated to install an aeroponic garden in the mezzanine level of the O'Hare Rotunda Building. The Rotunda Building is located in Terminal 3 over the corridor to Concourse G.
Aeroponic gardening is a method of growing plants without soil. Plant roots are misted with a nutrient solution during a regular watering cycle. Aeroponics is becoming increasingly popular around the world as agricultural land uses must compete with developers for limited open space.
In the CDA's aeroponic garden, plant's roots are suspended in 26 towers that house over 1,100 planting spots. A nutrient solution is regularly cycled through the towers using pumps so that no water evaporates or is wasted, making the process self-sustaining. No fertilizers or chemicals are used in the garden.
Producing and purchasing locally grown foods supports the CDA's commitment to sustainability by strengthening the local economy and job market, providing a unique learning opportunity for travelers, and reducing urban sprawl, traffic congestion, habitat loss, and pollution from transportation of produce.
Compared to a conventional garden, the CDA's aeroponic garden provides the following advantages:
- Year-round cultivation
- Higher production yield per square foot
- No weed pulling
- Uses about two-thirds less water
- Is typically less expensive
Tortas Frontera, Wicker Park Sushi, Wolfgang Puck, Tuscany, and other participating restaurants gather fresh produce from the garden to prepare meals for O'Hare passengers.
Produce from the garden includes:
- Swiss chard
- Genovese basil
- Sweet basil
- Purple basil
- Bibb lettuce
- Gourmet lettuce mix
- Red lettuce
- Habanero peppers
- Edible viola flowers
- Edible nasturtium flowers
- Green beans
- Snap beans
Ticketed airport visitors can view the garden while relaxing or enjoying a meal at the comfortable lounge area – perhaps a meal that contains some vegetables and herbs grown just a few feet away! Next time you travel through O'Hare, we invite you to take a few minutes to visit the garden and learn more about this unique and earth-friendly type of farming.