We visited The Plant, John Edel's attempt at converting an old-time meatpacking building into a self-sustaining ecosystem, about a year ago. As is the nature of startups, some plans talked about then have come to fruition, others haven't, but the building keeps chugging along toward Edel's vision of a near-total self-sufficiency where waste from one operation is reused to feed or fuel the next and the building requires very little coming in and produces very little going out except finished products for sale. Anthony Todd looks at the state of The Plant in early 2013 in this morning's Sun-Times:
The Plant isnt some collective utopia; its a non-profit that aims to host profitable businesses. Part of that is attracting tenants: food businesses that find the facilities and the desirable amenities of cheap power and heat perfect for their model. One of these is SkyyGreens, an aquaponics startup (and Chicagos first licensed indoor farm) that is already producing food at The Plant. Galen Williams, the CEO of SkyyGreens, explained why indoor farming was a viable business. Were down the street from buyers. This isnt coming from California, its not coming from South America. We can harvest things the day they are served or the night before. Its perfect for the customer; its fresher, it lasts longer and it tastes a lot better.