idle smoker at The Plant
  • Rachel Swenie
  • Idle smoker at the Plant

My story last week about the Plant, Chicago’s nascent vertical farm growing in a decommissioned Back of the Yards meat-processing factory, makes note that if all goes according to plan, the auxiliary food businesses developer John Edel hopes to attract to augment its farm operations will collectively operate as sort of a giant shared kitchen. Businesses can rent plots in the rooftop greenhouses and grow their own produce, the mushroom farm can use the brewery’s spent grains to grow fungi, and tenants will have plenty of communal areas in which to eat, cook, hang out, and share ideas and resources. As I said, because the building was designed to meet USDA meat-making specifications, the Plant would be ideal for small-scale charcutiers who so far have had a hell of time finding federally approved facilities to set up shop in.

If that sounds hopelessly idealistic, don’t forget this ain’t John Edel’s first rodeo.