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The Plant is one of the greatest monuments to the circular economy that we have. It’s amazing and an article from Greenbiz gives us a much needed update:
“Fast forward to 2015. The Plant is home to a growing list of tenant businesses and thriving volunteer, education and farmer’s market programming led by the nonprofit.
Among the tenants are Pleasant House, a pie shop and bakery capable of supplying a full-time restaurant and three farmers markets per week; Arize Kombucha, which distributes over 500 gallons of fermented tea per month to Chicago grocery stores; Fruiting Mushrooms, an indoor mushroom farm on its way to producing 500 pounds of oyster mushrooms per week; and Patchwork Farms and Bike a Bee, two outdoor operations that supply vegetables to CSA subscribers and local honey to farmers market customers.
The nonprofit runs an indoor aquaponics farm that supplies vegetables for their weekly farmstand and an educational experience for over 1,000 tourists every month.
Research conducted by Plant Chicago summer interns showed that building refurbishment and tenant production activities yield over 40,000 pounds of material per month — 40 percent as finished products and 60 percent as byproducts.
These byproducts traditionally would be termed as “waste,” but that term is taboo among the Plant community. Over 90 percent of the byproducts are reused, repurposed, composted or recycled.
No material is off limits for reuse or reprocessing in a place where lunchtime conversation often revolves around commodity values and compost technology and where the visitor lobby features mushrooms growing on waste coffee grounds.”