Inside An Old Chicago Packing Plant, Inspiring Proof That Urban Indoor Farming Can Succeed

At The Plant, a group of food businesses runs in awe-inspiring harmony. A fish farm fertilizes the plants. A new brewery supplies carbon dioxide to help plants grow. And refuse from the cheesemaker feeds a digester that powers the whole operation.

Four years ago, entrepreneur John Edel bought a sprawling vacant factory in Chicago and decided to turn it into a vertical farm that produces everything from fish to salad greens to beer. Now, Edel says the experiment is proving that urban indoor farming can work: His venture provides local food and recycles local waste, all while turning a profit.

Edel originally started The Plant as a way to reclaim empty space that no one else wanted. “I had been looking for ways to reuse vacant and derelict industrial buildings,” he says. “Modern manufacturing isn’t really interested in being in a 100-year old multi-story structure, but plants and fish don’t really care what floor they’re on.” … (Read more)