In 2011, Chicago O’Hare installed the world’s first aeroponic garden in an airport. Chard, jalapeno peppers, lettuces, tomatoes, herbs, and other products are grown without the use of soil in a tower of nutrient solution. There are twenty six towers with over 1,100 planting spots. Trays of substrate allow for seedlings to sprout before transplanting to the towers. Thirty three apiaries were also installed outside the terminals.
This method of growing allows for year-round cultivation, high production, local production, reduced water usage, and the creation of a soothing public space in the airport. Only ticketed passengers can access this garden, as it is located within the terminal. 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.