Appleton International Airport (ATW) is now growing its own fresh greens with its new on-site Flex Farm, a hydroponic farming system. ATW is the first and only airport in Wisconsin to have its own system.
“Eating healthy on the go can be difficult with a lack of fresh, nourishing food,” said Abe Weber, airport director. “We have worked closely with our health partner, ThedaCare, to introduce this on-site Flex Farm to meet those desires.”
As a health partner with ATW, ThedaCare has worked with the airport’s restaurant, The Fox Cities Eatery, to provide more healthy menu selections and incorporate Flex Farm’s fresh greens into meals such as sandwiches and burgers. This effort is in tandem with ATW’s ‘Making Healthy Connections Fly’ initiative, a forward-thinking program to ensure each traveler has an excellent experience at the airport.
To make the Flex Farm hydroponic system a reality, ATW is working with Fork Farms, a local social enterprise in Green Bay. Fork Farms is an indoor agriculture technology company that partners with communities to make the process of producing healthy food accessible to the world. Their hydroponic unit uses only water, air, nutrients, and LED lighting to grow 300 pounds of fresh greens annually, and eliminates the need for soil, pesticides, and herbicides. These fresh greens produced by the unit will be harvested just steps away from ATW’s Fox Cities Eatery restaurant.
“We are glad we could have local support with this project and would also like to thank Fork Farm, the creators of the Flex Farm, for their help in making this possible,” said Weber. “While eating at The Fox Cities Eatery, our ticketed passengers can see the Flex Farm hard at work – producing fresh greens just a few feet away!”