A Growing Trend: Onsite Farming at Convention Centers

Author: Cristi Kempf       

The Farmshelf farm at New York City’s Javits Center has become an attraction in itself, said Marc Tourtollet, executive chef of Cultivated there. (Courtesy of Farmshelf)

New York City’s Javits Center is among the growing number of convention venues that grow food on site. There, the Farmshelf, a smart, indoor, Wi-Fi-enabled farm, is often on display, and, said Executive Chef Marc Tourtollet, it “is a conversation starter.”

“Our team,” he said, “is able to grow a variety of vegetables and herbs indoors, no matter the season. The system alerts us when the plants are ready to be watered or harvested, so it takes away the human error and potential for waste. It starts great discussions with our guests about plants and plant-based options around the convention center. And our guests are able to see exactly where some of their salad or entrée ingredients came from.

“We will soon be able to offer even more farm-fresh options to guests with our rooftop expansion including a rooftop farm that is set to open in 2021,” he added. “We’ve begun planning ideas for the garden … [and] we are hoping to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and may even plant some fruit trees.”

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