NEW YORK—The Javits Center announced the creation of a new lip balm infused with honey harvested from beehives atop the convention center’s 6.75-acre green roof, one of the largest of its kind in the United States. The lip balm was produced by team members of Cultivated, the venue’s new dining and hospitality team powered by Levy Convention Centers and CxRA. Known as Jacob’s Honey Lip Balm, this lip-servicing item exemplifies the Javits Center’s commitment to a sustainable environment and serves as a pre-cursor to the opening of a one-acre rooftop farm, which is being constructed as part of the Javits Center’s $1.5 billion expansion project. The farm, which will be managed by urban roofing company Brooklyn Grange, will open in 2021 and is expected to produce up to 40,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables a year, creating a true roof-to-table experience. In the coming months, the lip balm will be distributed to customers at the Javits Center, the country’s busiest convention center on Manhattan’s West Side.
“This new lip balm signifies another small step in our amazing journey toward sustainability, and it wouldn’t be possible without the commitment of our staff to a more sustainable environment,” said Alan Steel, President and CEO of the New York Convention Center Operating Corp., which operates the Javits Center. “In an industry that requires face-to-face communication, this lip balm will certainly be useful on the show floor where we invite customers from around the world to share ideas that move our planet forward.”
“The Javits Center’s drive to reduce waste and deliver a more sustainable environment is truly impressive, and we’re thrilled to be a part of their story,” said Cindy van Rensburg, Division President of Levy Convention Centers. “This initiative isn’t simply about creating a new product. It symbolizes our commitment to being stewards of our environment. The rooftop farm opening in 2021 will be a game-changer, and we’re proud to partner with the Javits Center to maximize its impact.”
Part of Much Larger Sustainability Program
The creation of Jacob’s Honey Lip Balm is the next step in the Javits Center’s robust sustainability program, which has reduced the convention center’s energy consumption by 26 percent and created a wildlife habitat on its rooftop. Since 2014, 29 bird species and five bat species have been identified on the green roof, along with five beehives with up to 60,000 bees per hive. Other sustainability initiatives include the new JavitsCares program, which facilitates the donation of exhibit materials to nonprofit organizations throughout the New York region.
Led by Executive Chef Marc Tourtollet, the Cultivated team produced 1,000 containers of the honey-infused lip balm last month, incorporating natural honey harvested from the rooftop bee hives. Since July 2019, when Cultivated was formed through a collaboration with Levy Convention Centers, CxRA and the Javits Center, other culinary items infused with rooftop honey have been created for events, such as bread pudding and iced tea lemonade. These efforts are part of Cultivated’s goal to implement a sophisticated and socially responsible program that leverages local resources, ecological enhancements and producer partnerships to showcase New York’s best offerings, including a sustainable beer program re-using bread made on site and a commitment to 100 percent compostable serviceware at all food and beverage locations operated by Cultivated.
“From the day we laid out our vision for hospitality at Javits Center, we wanted to cultivate our own ingredients,” said Marc Tourtollet, Executive Chef for Cultivated. “Initiatives like this are the reason behind our name and we’ve made significant strides since day one. We introduced a Farmshelf indoor garden last year to harvest fresh greens and have been processing honey from our rooftop for some time now. Creating our own lip balm really shows how we’ll be able to utilize the full rooftop farm once it opens. This means a lot for our business and our guests, and we can’t wait to roll out products like this on a larger scale.”
LEED Silver Development
With new signature menus, new restaurants and cafes and a new focus on high-impact events, the Cultivated dining and hospitality team will play a critical role when the expansion project is substantially completed in March 2021. The historic project, which is more than 65 percent completed, will add 1.2 million square feet of event-related space to the convention center, including more than 200,000 square feet of new meeting room and pre-function space, a 54,000 square-foot special event space, a rooftop pavilion and terrace and a truck marshaling facility that will house all event-related trucks on site and improve area traffic flow. Led by the New York Convention Center Development Corp. and Empire State Development, the project is expected to be certified LEED Silver by the U.S Green Building Council, the same certification as the existing building. A joint venture of Lendlease and Turner is leading the project’s construction with design services provided by tvsdesign. The expansion is part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s statewide plan to upgrade critical infrastructure and transportation facilities in order to spur job creation and economic activity.
In December 2019, Governor Cuomo announced that the first events hosted at the newly-expanded convention center will be the joint International Contemporary Furniture Fair and LightFair in May 2021. The combined design-industry events are expected to attract more than 40,000 design professionals to New York City.