It’s a sunny day in February, and I’m standing at the entrance of an enormous brick building in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. This area on the city’s Southwest Side became infamous last century after Upton Sinclair described the appalling work conditions at its stockyards in The Jungle. Until it ceased processing pig carcasses in 2007, the 93,000-square-foot space before me served as a Peer Foods meatpacking plant for nearly a century. Now, the building is known simply as The Plant.
Today the facility serves as an incubator for various food startups—an ongoing experiment to see whether companies operating under one roof can make one another more sustainable. The mastermind behind the project is John Edel, the founder of Bubbly Dynamics, an organization that renovates and reuses derelict buildings in Chicago. Edel purchased the place—which a real estate agent called a “strip and rip”—in 2010 for a mere $525,000. He wanted to create a model for urban agriculture in which…
Read The Rest of The Story Here.