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Chicago’s The Plant: Mushrooms, Beer & Fish

I learned from Frances Moore Lappé about a cool agricultural effort in Chicago. A group is turning an old meat packing plant into a vertical farm — plus. The building is being converted by volunteers into a home for raising vegetables, tilapia, mushrooms and for a host of other enterprises: a beer brewery, a kombucha tea brewery, a bakery, a catering operation.

Writer Julie Beck went there for a “Young Aggies” event, noting that it’s “in a creepy part of town that caused my roommate to posit that this would be a good place to lure young people with the promise of an urban agricultural event and then murder them.” Beck suggested that rather than a vertical farm, The Plant might be best described as a “food business incubator.”

Sustainability and integrated farming permeate the building. The various enterprises will feed each other in a way that makes the best use of waste and energy. The byproducts of the brewery will feed the fish, the fish poop can fertilize the vegetables, and so on. Much of what can’t be used in another enterprise will be converted into energy to heat and cool and provide electricity.

You can read more in a recent post in Good, or by visiting The Plant’s website.

Photo: The Plant, Flickr

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