At Terminal 3 of O'Hare International, the enormous airport in Chicago, in the very busy lobby packed with passengers travelling to and from all over the world, there stand 26 8-foot-tall towers housing more than 1,000 plants, from lettuce to parsley, from beans to Swiss chard, creating a vertical garden that extends for 980 square meters. What are we talking about? About the Urban Garden, the first aeroponics project launched in an airport. This is a process for the cultivation of plants in a greenhouse without soil or any other supporting aggregate: plants are sustained artificially and are misted with a solution enriched with mineral fertilizers.
The plants grown this way currently serve 4 restaurants in the terminal and the ingredients used for the meals they prepare truly celebrate local production: they have not travelled in trucks to reach the kitchen, have not used a drop of oil to reach the table and have not been stored in freeze rooms to be kept fresh.
When it comes to food of the future and sustainable innovation, when we think about the planet we will leave to our children, when we discuss about how the synergy between man and technology can produce incredible results, we at 255, also think about this type of project. It is not the first case neither will it be the last, but allow us to be proud of being Italians: the project is based on an idea launched by the Italian Autogrill in collaboration with the Chicago Department of Aviation.