Plant Chicago cultivates local circular economies.

Not long ago, The Plant was an abandoned 93,500 square foot pork processing facility. Now it’s a collaborative community of food businesses looking to re-value their “waste”.

Plant Chicago holds classes, workshops and more educational programming that explore circular economy principles. Our programs take place in our indoor aquaponics farm, net-zero classroom, and outdoor learning spaces on-site at The Plant.

The Plant is a project of Bubbly Dynamics, LLC. To learn more about the project, including facility tours and current tenants of the building, visit Bubbly’s website.

 

>6,000

people participated in Plant Chicago tours and workshops in 2017

Circular Economy Workshops

Public Circular Economy Workshops

Circular Economy workshops are available for individuals, corporate groups, community organizations, university classes, and more. Challenge yourself and others to think critically about our current economic system and consumption!

Workshops lasts roughly 1 hour in length, and feature our demonstration aquaponics farm, outdoor garden, chickens, and more. We’ll explore the practices of the food businesses co-located with us inside The Plant as an example of the circular economy in action.

We offer public workshops every Saturday and by reservation throughout the week.

Cost

  • Students & Seniors: $7
  • Adults: $10
  • Back of the Yards Residents: Free

Individuals looking to participate in a workshop can visit every Saturday at 11:30 am. Space is limited so make sure to purchase your tickets in advance!

Check the public workshop schedule and reserve your space!

Private Circular Economy Workshops

Cost

  • Students & Seniors: $7 
  • Adults: $10 
  • Back of the Yards Residents: Free
  • Minimum payment: $150

Have a large group or can’t attend on a Saturday? Private workshops can be arranged Tuesday – Thursday at 10 am and 1 pm, Friday at 1 pm, and Saturday at 10 am and 2 pm, given availability.

We can accommodate up to 40 attendees per group. All visits must be arranged at least 2 weeks in advance of your requested date. If you’d like to schedule a private workshop, please fill out this form.

Aquaponics Classes

Plant Chicago runs a series of five workshops that introduce various aspects of designing, building and maintaining aquaponics systems. The workshop series covers, introductory aquaponics, lighting, plumbing, water chemistry, and system design.

Partner workshops

Plant Chicago teams up with various partners to offer co-branded workshops on various local food and circular economy topics such as fermentation, seed starting, foraging, vegan baking, renewable energy and more.

 

See the current schedule and reserve your space

 

Have an idea for a workshop that you would like to lead? Have other questions? Contact us at education@plantchicago.org

Current research and demonstration projects

Algae Bioreactor

An efficient method for processing waste, the bioreactor produces Spirulina, a fast-growing and nutritious algae—perfect for our homemade fish food.  We're using nutrients from the aquaponics farm as an input to this system.

Aquaponics Farm

Aquaculture and hydroponics combined allows us to raise fish and grow produce without soil. The fish "waste" fertilizes the plants. We’ve been experimenting with homemade fish food recipes, using biomaterials produced on site to increase nutrition and lower costs. We're using spent grains from the brewer on site, Whiner Brewery, as a source of food for our fish.

Miniature Anaerobic Biodigester

Anaerobic digestion is a highly efficient, low-oxygen method for converting organic matter like food waste into biofuel. We fed our miniature digester kitchen scraps to test feedback ratios and gas production and gauge the scalability of the process.

Bio-briquettes

Waste is an opportunity, and Plant Chicago has experimented with various "waste" materials from Whiner Brewery and 4 Letter Word Coffee and turning it into a combustible fuel source. We're experimenting with using the briquettes to offset wood consumption in Pleasant House's wood fired oven.

Textiles from Mycelia

Mycelia are the interconnected threads that are otherwise known as fungus. Most of us associate with the fruiting body of the fungus known as a mushroom, but mycelia have many other uses from growing packaging material to potentially growing textiles!