Best time to visit Chicago

The Plant Chicago

A former meatpacking facility is transformed into a human-made ecosystem

Best time: all year round

Plant Chicago is a unique urban space that includes over 20 small food businesses, like farming, baking, and brewing, as well as a year-round market. The former 93,500 square feet meatpacking plant now hosts a fish hatchery, hydroponic garden, commercial kitchen, and a kombucha tea brewery. Interestingly, waste from one part of the farm is utilized by another, making it a net-zero energy system. The mushroom farm uses spent grain from the brewery while the farm fish enjoy the brewery’s spent barley. All of the waste is recycled, making it an example of a “green factory.”

Electricity will be provided by a generator that is powered by biogas emitted from The Plant’s anaerobic digester. The Plant is still undergoing transformations as a sustainable, self-sufficient business complex that will promote a responsible attitude to the environment and economic growth. The plant is located at 1400 W 46th St, in Back of the Yards neighbourhood where it serves as a model for green technology.

Tours of the developing complex take place on Saturdays at noon. Private tours are also available. Plant Chicago frequently hosts classes and workshops that explore circular economy principles that can be learned on-site at The Plant.

Practical info

What is Plant Chicago?

Situated in the Back of the Yards neighbourhood in Chicago, Plant Chicago spans 93,500 sq ft and offers space for over 20 small food businesses that cover farming, brewing, and baking. There are several features to the building, including a fish hatchery, hydroponic garden, commercial kitchen, and a kombucha brewery. The idea behind the urban space is to promote sustainable practices that are both environmentally friendly and economically viable. Show more

Where is Plant Chicago located?

Located in the south-west side of Chicago in the Back of the Yards neighbourhood, Plant Chicago is easily accessible by car, bus, and train. The complex is within walking distance of both the South Shore Line and the Chicago Transit Authority's Orange Line stations. Those planning on driving can park on-street or use the car park on the building's south side. Show more

When are tours of the Plant available?

Plant Chicago offers guided tours every Saturday at noon. Private tours can be arranged by emailing Plant Chicago directly if the designated time-slots do not work for interested parties. Tours cover a range of topics that include the facility's operations and development, the hydroponic and aquaponic systems in place, and the worm composting setup and fish hatchery on-site. For up-to-date information on tour schedules, prospective visitors should check the website to confirm they are available. Show more

What kind of workshops does Plant Chicago host?

Plant Chicago promotes the principles of a closed-loop system and frequently offers workshops that focus on craft, wellness, and sustainable food systems. One such class is an introduction to cheese, yoghurt, and butter making. Other available workshops include gardening, home brewing, and kombucha making. To stay informed of upcoming workshops and classes, check the company's website or contact them directly. Show more

How does Plant Chicago recycle its waste?

A closed-loop system interconnects the various small businesses and industries of Plant Chicago, allowing them to minimize waste collectively. As an example, spent grains are used to feed mushrooms, while the mushrooms' spent substrate is used to feed fish in the aquaponic and hydroponic systems. Plant Chicago's sustainable ecosystem also features a biogas-producing anaerobic digester. This digester helps in the elimination of organic waste while powering the complex and producing a net-zero energy system. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin