While there is still a big debate about the overall usefulness of urban farming, it is a trend that continues to gain popularity. This is especially true in food deserts, where fresh food is not easily accessible.
Chicago has seen great development in this area in recent years and recently announced a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity that will give birth to “The Plant,” a conversion of an old meat packing facility into an urban farm that combines aquaponics, underground farming, a brewery and an outdoor growing space.
The project is set to be operational by 2015 and may help divert 27 tons of food waste a day from local area businesses. According to the website, “The Plant will create 125 jobs in Chicago’s economically distressed Back of the Yards neighborhood – but, remarkably, these jobs will require no fossil fuel use. Instead, The Plant will eventually divert over 10,000 tons of food waste from landfills each year to meet all of its heat and power needs.”
The Plant is also set to be a zero waste facility, with all waste being used to produce the products, and heat and energy to run the entire system. We will keep an eye in the progress here, and based on the success, expect to see many more projects like this springing up.