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O'Hare Becomes First U.S. Airport To Host Beehives

CHICAGO (CBS) -- O'Hare International Airport sits on an old apple orchard and was once known as Orchard Field – hence the code "ORD."

Now, agriculture is making a comeback at the airport. A group is raising bees right along the runways at the busy airport.

As CBS 2's Kris Habermehl reports, 33 beehives have been set up on the east side of the airfield, in a remote, secure, non-public area just off the approach to runway 28.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780's Mary Frances Bragiel reports


The apiary takes up 2,400 square feet of space at the airport. It was set up by Sweet Beginnings, a program at the North Lawndale Employment Network that helps ex-convicts and other disadvantaged people from the West Side neighborhood find permanent jobs while going green at the same time, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The program produces products under the brand name Beeline, including raw honey, and natural, honey-infused skin care products.

If all goes well, Beeline products will become part of the O'Hare foodservice program and sold at kiosks throughout the airport.

The main beekeeping operation for Beeline is located on West Flournoy Street in North Lawndale. Sweet Beginnings chief executive officer Brenda Palms Barber hopes also to start up an apiary at Midway International Airport, the Sun-Times reported.

The newspaper points out that beekeeping operations are common at airports in Europe, but O'Hare is the first in the United States to host an apiary.

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