Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Not Old McDonald's Farm

A couple of Saturdays ago this urban sketcher left her studio to visit an urban farm! In an old meatpacking plant in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago there is a wonderful place called The Plant. Its mission is to repurpose the old plant into a vertical farm (I love that term) and food business operation. 
The Plant-Outdoor Garden

When it is fully operational one-third of The Plant will be an aquaponic farm system. It's a circle from fish to vegetables to fish. The fish in tanks produce ammonia-based waste that is broken down into nitrates that are fed to the plants growing in water beds. The plants absorb the nitrates and clean the water. The water the goes back to the fish. The idea is to sell both the fish and the vegetables to local markets and restaurants.  The other two-thirds of the building will house sustainable food businesses.

This is just a hint of what is planned. Right now there's a bakery, a tea brewery, a mushroom farm and the aquaponics has begun. There's an outdoor garden and a roof garden. It has a long way to go but The Plant will have a renewable energy system that will use more than 10,000 tons of food waste from landfills each year to meet its energy requirements. About 125 jobs will be created. There are retail and restaurant spaces planned. Go, take the tour. See the future and be inspired and amazed!

There were nineteen people on the tour with Barbara, our guide. 

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