Peer Foods, former owners of a meatpacking and slaughterhouse business abandoned a factory in the Union Stock Yards, Chicago. Plant Chicago recently bought the facility and started to restore it. Using a complex interrelated system, The Plant will create 125 jobs in the particularly economically distressed Back of the Yards Chicagoan neighborhood.
Not only is The Plant creating new job opportunities and restoring a prominent building, the whole organization will be self sufficient in energy needs. An anaerobic digester and a combined heat and power system will enable the business to operate by recycling 27 tons of food waste per day, turning food waste into the energy needed to grow different sustainable food.
“Waste from one business will be used as food for another. A good example is the spent distillers grains from the brewery will be fed to the tilapia, while solids from the tilapia waste will be fed to the mushrooms.”
The repurposing of the building is to be finished in 2016, generating an artisanal and self-sustaining aquaponic food business. Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (growing fish in a farm setting) and hydroponics (growing plants in water and without soil. The business will include at least a beer brewery, a bakery, a kombucha brewery, a mushroom farm and a shared kitchen. The Plant is already offering tours of the facility three times a week. In doing so, The Plant hopes to touch as many people as possible by encouraging sustainability in agriculture.