Photo by Plant Chicago.

Soon, a former meatpacking plant in Chicago will replace carcasses and rendering vats with bakers and brewers and fish farmers and mushroom growers. The Plant (ho ho, a double meaning!) is gathering together a bunch of food-makers to create a self-sustaining system in the 93,500-square-foot abandoned space. As Fast Company reports, a former meatpacking plant is the perfect place to start a food business of this kind: It already contains “food-grade materials” which are safe for food preparation.

The plant, which should be finished by 2016 or 2017, will run largely off its own waste. It’s getting a cogeneration system that will burn methane from an anaerobic digester, creating electricity, heat, and steam to boil brewery kettles. The grain from the beer-brewing process will feed fish on the fish farm. The fish waste will feed the mushrooms and plants, which will clean the water. The water will go back to the fish farm. All the other waste will go into the anaerobic digester. It’s a ciiiiiircle of life! But in The Jungle instead of the jungle.

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