JetBlue Airways and TERRA® Real Vegetable Chips today revealed the T5 Farm – a blue potato farm and produce garden at Terminal 5 (T5) at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. An experiment in ‘farm-to-air’ innovation, the farm will promote New York agriculture and enhance the JetBlue customer experience with more green space.
The T5 Farm was created through a partnership between JetBlue and TERRA brand — which provides JetBlue’s signature TERRA Blues® chips, available for free on every JetBlue flight — with support from GrowNYC Partners and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The T5 Farm will yield blue potatoes such as those used to make TERRA Blues, which have been the official snack of JetBlue since the airline launched. Last year, JetBlue distributed more than 5.7 million bags of TERRA Blues.
“An airport seems like an unexpected place for a farming experiment, but what better way to explore JetBlue’s role in the food cycle than to harvest right in our own back yard at JFK?” said Sophia Mendelsohn, head of sustainability at JetBlue. “Our customers expect T5 to offer them unique experiences. We know from our T5 Rooftop that people are drawn to light and green spaces, and they also have an inherent interest in understanding where their food comes from.”
The 24,000 square foot farm will feature 3,000 crates of potato plants, herbs and other produce. It will highlight local farmers and New York’s agriculture and is expected to grow more than 1,000 pounds of blue potatoes per harvest, as well as house 2,000 herbs and plants, including a variety of produce such as arugula, beets, mint and basil. It is the first blue potato farm in the world at an airport. In collaboration with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the other plants being grown on the T5 Farm were carefully selected to deter bird and other wildlife coming to the area.
The T5 Farm is more than a new green space; it will serve as an agricultural and educational resource for the community. The harvests will help JetBlue and its partners in T5 become more self-sufficient by providing herbs and produce for use in some of the terminal’s restaurants and eateries, with the goal of blue potatoes eventually finding their way back in TERRA Blues served onboard. Items from the T5 Farm will also be donated to local food pantries.
“TERRA Blues are the perfect snack to complement the JetBlue mission to provide quality food during the travel experience. Now, through the T5 Farm, we are pleased to bring a farm-to-flight experience closer to travelers,” said Jared Simon, senior director of marketing at Hain Celestial, TERRA’s parent company. “We are proud to extend our partnership with JetBlue through this initiative, which highlights the journey that blue potatoes make as they become a delicious in-flight snack.”
The T5 Farm is located pre-security on the departures level of T5, JetBlue’s flagship terminal, which Frommer’s has named one of the world’s ten most beautiful airport terminals. Food grown at the T5 Farm completes the full cycle of food production. In partnership with Air Ventures and Royal Waste Services, JetBlue composts many leftovers from select restaurants in T5. Air Ventures and Royal Waste Services haul nearly 300 pounds of food waste each day for composting at McEnroe Organic Farm in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Earlier this year, the nutrient rich, organic soil from the farm was then transported to the T5 Farm to grow potatoes and produce.
“JetBlue is New York’s Hometown Airline and what better way to showcase their New York pride than with a farm,” said GrowNYC Partners Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen. “Northeast farmers produce some of the freshest, healthiest, tastiest food in the world, which is already available inside T5, and now outside: at the farm! It’s an opportunity for us to educate all the travelers about where food comes from in an exciting, non-traditional setting.”
JetBlue says creating a healthier airport environment is a core pillar of its sustainability philosophy. As New York's Hometown Airline™, JetBlue regularly utilizes opportunities such as the T5 Farm to educate customers on important issues such as carbon offsetting, composting and climate change, while matching their desire for more nutritious options onboard and in terminal.