The old red-brick building sporting a “BEER” sign may not look impressive, but what is going on inside certainly is. “The Plant” is an indoor vertical farm that triples as a food-business incubator and research/education space located inside an 87-year old meat packing factory in the Union Stockyards of Chicago, Illinois. The project was partly funded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity with a $1.5 million grant. Browse through the Plant Chicago’s Flickr Photostream and you can watch the space steadily transform into an urban farm that will grow fresh produce, farm fresh fish, brew beer and produce kombucha all while recycling the waste of the facility to make it a Net-Zero Energy System. How does it work? Follow us after the break to learn more. The Plant, currently being refurbished, is housed in a 93,000 square foot facility, one third of which will be a host to aquaponic growing systems. The rest of the building space will serve as an incubator for sustainable food businesses, offering low rent, low energy costs, and a planned licensed shared kitchen. The heart of this building, which will enable it to perform its operations, keep 10,000 tons of food waste out of landfills and produce heat and power for the building, is the anaerobic digester – a system that uses micro-organisms to break down biodegradable matter and can be used to produce bio-gas, a product of these natural systems.
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