Fanatic Inspiration #4 – ‘The Plant’ – 93,000SF of Net Zero Growing!

The Plant - ExteriorIt’s always exciting when people put their creativity to good use and take something that’s been tossed aside and turned into something quite remarkable. In this case it comes in the form of a former meat packing plant in an industrialized area of Chicago that is undergoing a major conversion. The goal by 2015 is to have an entirely off the grid food production/processing facility incorporating aquaponics and underground farming; a brewery; a local food business incubator and outdoor growing spaces will also be part of its design.

The Plant - DiagramSome highlights of note about this fantastic project:

  • The Plant will create 125 jobs in Chicago’s economically distressed Back of the Yards neighborhood
  • Divert over 10,000 tons of food waste from landfills each year to meet all of its heat and power needs via an Anaerobic Digester, which produces methane through organic material breakdown in an area with no oxygen, is to be integrated into the setup that will help provide both power and heat for the grow areas, brewery and kitchen (roughly 400kWh by consuming roughly 27 tons of food waste a day by their estimates)
  • It will have artisanal food businesses, including a beer brewery, a bakery, a kombucha (fermented tea) brewery, a mushroom farm, and a shared kitchen
  • Plans to host seminars for sustainability professionals, college students, schoolchildren, and the public to learn about a wide range of topics, from energy and efficiency in buildings to obesity to growing techniques
  • Operates under a what’s called a social enterprise model – meaning there is a non-profit and for-profit side, but both are aimed at socially and environmentally responsible goals

Obviously this is NOT a small project. A great deal of thought has gone into putting this plan into action. The Plant’s founders have already secured $1.5 million in grant money from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to get their project off the ground. They’ve even had a recent visit from Chicago’s Mayor.

To get a better understanding of the system they plan on using, a fantastic video was created to help make it simple to understand..

If you are ever out Chicago way, you should pay them a visit and see first hand the incredible amount of good ideas being brought to life!

The Plant


Posted on April 5, 2012, in Aquaponics, Garden, Get Motivated, Greenhouse, Hydroponics, Inspiration and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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