The Plant gets some great coverage ...

NewCity featuring The PlantThe Plant is “close to our hearts” here at Green Tech Chicago, as that’s where our own projects are based, so we were very excited to see the cover story about it in the latest issue of NewCity.

The article’s author, David King, takes a look at the roots (if you pardon the unintentional pun) of the concepts of “Vertical Farming”, and traces them to the doorstep of the key players in developing The Plant, and then describes a walk-through of the spaces, with interviews with several of the commercial tenants.

Here’s a bit on how he explains the operation, continuing from an introduction of the project’s Executive Driector, John Edel:

Around 2005, Edel began thinking about growing food in buildings. Two years later, he found himself seriously looking for an old building to put to that use. In 2010, he found an eighty-five-year-old former meatpacking plant at 1400 West 46th Street whose owners, Mariah Foods, expected to see it stripped for parts and torn down. Thanks to a family loan, Edel bought the title for $525,000.

With help from Blake Davis, an adjunct professor of sustainability and urban agriculture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, along with Blake’s students, other IIT faculty, engineers, volunteers and still others who offered their thoughts, Edel came up with a plan for a kind of business cooperative the likes of which Chicago had never seen. He would create a magnificent, self-contained production system that would house multiple small businesses, serve as a source of locally grown food in a so-called “food desert,” and bring jobs to an economically depressed neighborhood—all with net-zero waste.


Here’s how the system would work: Companies would rent out space in the building to grow plants, raise fish, brew beer or kombucha, or use commercial kitchen space. The waste from one process would serve as fuel for another. For example, oxygen emitted by the plants would feed the kombucha, and the carbon dioxide put out by the kombucha would go back to the plants. Water filtered through those same plants—which would be grown hydroponically, meaning on water—would go to the fish tanks, and the solid waste from the fish would get filtered out to soil-based plants. Meanwhile, the fish’s liquid waste would nourish the hydroponic plants. Spent barley from the beer brewery would also go to feed the fish.

Still following?

Anyway … it’s an awesome article, so click on over to NewCity and check it out!

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