On July 13, 2011, WGN featured a story about New Chicago Brewing Company, a new tenant located in “The Plant,” a former meatpacking building in the Back of the Yards neighborhood which has been transformed to house Chicago’s first vertical farm. New Chicago Brewing Co. will be working in tandem with the vertical farm to optimize the use and reuse of resources in food production.
The vertical farm currently includes aquaponic gardens and a tilapia farm. “With the help of insanely creative students and staff at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the production processes of building tenants are being combined,” and in this instance the by-products of the brewing process will provide food for the tilapia. Within this closed ecosystem, the water for the aquaponics cycles through the tilapia tank and the waste from the tilapia in turn provides fertilizer for the crops grown in the vertical farm.
This urban development project has been a successful and continuing IPRO course under INTM Professor Blake Davis. IPRO 336 Implementing The Plant Chicago will run in fall 2011 (project description available at ipro.iit.edu ). Learn more about activities at The Plant at www.plantchicago.com and view the WGN story at (www.wgntv.com/news/coverstory/wgntv-newchicagobrewingcompany-07132011,0,1722600.story). The Plant is located at 1400 W. 46thStreet in Chicago, offers tours three days per week, and welcomes volunteers to help with the “deconstruction” projects in the building.