"Closing the loop."

Pleasant HouseLast week I was down at the Nature’s Little Recyclers’ worm factory in the Back-of-the-Yards neighborhood to shoot some video for a promotion they’re doing, and hung around to go on a delivery they were making of several bags of their “Caviar Compost” vermicast to their most recent farming partner, Pleasant Farms. This is a project of the folks at Pleasant House Bakery, and the location we visited was just one of several that they have growing food for the restaurant, although this one is just a block or two down Morgan St. from there.

After Ed and Dale dropped off the compost, we had a chance to chat with Jonathan Scheffel, who is the manager of the Pleasant Farms’ Chicago sites … figuring that if I was there with the video camera anyway, we might as well get a Green Tech Chicago post out of it as well (lucky you!). Here’s how our visit went:

I really like the concept of “closing the loop” that was brought up in that … the vermicast helps grow the food which gets served in the restaurant whose organic waste goes back to feed the worms and make more vermicast … pretty neat. Partnering with various urban farms is one of the key outreaches for the NLR guys (and, in the interest of transparency, both Ed and I are actively involved in the “worm biz”), and it’s an ideal way to get the word out on the compost.

Aside from providing food for their own restaurant, Pleasant Farms sells through some local farmer’s markets, and has plans for significant expansion, not only into more space under cultivation, but also into programs featuring “urban farm” tours, growing courses, and even a consulting arm for people wanting to set up their own at-home gardening and agriculture, including training, design, and construction.

Pleasant House has been a long-time tenant at The Plant, and I’ve had a chance to sample some of their wares at events down there, and would recommend their cooking to anybody. We didn’t have a chance to grab something to eat when we popped into the restaurant (towards the end of the video), but if you pause the playback and look close, you can probably get a good sense of their menu, as I panned across the chalkboard in the closing shot!

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  • So ingenious. Hope some success comes your way with your creepy crawlies!

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