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The Plant

The Plant

1400 West 46th street

Chicago, IL 60605

Acceptable clothing for the tour: Comfortable shoes for walking indoors

 Wednesday, March 8, 2023

  • Check-in time to board shuttle is at 9:15 AM
  • Bus departs promptly at: 9:30 AM
  • Tour starts at: 10:00 AM
  • Tour ends at: 11:30 AM
  • Shuttle will return to the Swissotel Chicago at 12:15 PM

Tickets for The Plant tour are limited, and not included with your conference ticket.

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About the Tour

Not long ago, The Plant was an abandoned 93,500 square foot industrial space and pork processing facility.

Now it’s a larger-than-life experiment and working model for closing waste, resource and energy loops. The facility will eventually divert over 10,000 tons of food waste from landfills each year, while providing enough electricity to power over 250 homes. Between their dedicated staff and ever-growing legion of extraordinary volunteers, The Plant has centuries of experience building, teaching and revitalizing urban communities. Together, we’re working to change the way we, as a city, think about our food and our environment.

The Plant’s mission is to develop circular economies of food production, energy conservation and material reuse, while empowering people of all backgrounds to make their cities healthier and more efficient. In a circular economy, conventional waste streams from one process are repurposed as inputs for another, creating a circular, closed-loop model of material reuse.

During your tour, you’ll see some of our closed-loop tech demonstration projects up close, like an aquaponics farm and algae bioreactor. You’ll also hear from two of the tenants at The Plant: Whiner Brewery and Sacred Serve.

Whiner Brewery

Whiner Beer Co. focuses on barrel-aged beer, a tradition common in Belgium and France that is gaining foothold in the US. Industry veterans and partners Brian Taylor and Ria Neri aim to make beers for people with a wanderlust palate, a curiosity for the strange and unknown, and those who take their beer seriously, but never themselves.

Housed in The Plant, a net-zero energy business incubator located in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood, Whiner aims to promote environmentally responsible brewing. The brewery will play a major role in the operations of The Plant’s anaerobic digester. Once up and running, Whiner’s spent grain will help fuel the digester, producing energy for the entire building.

Sacred Serve

After growing up with severe asthma and allergies, Sacred Serve founder, Kailey Donewald, found that a plant-based/raw food diet healed her body of all its ailments. Feeling called to empower individuals to heal holistically, she took on the task of targeting the root of the issue: the food being offered to consumers. By tackling the most dairy/sugar laden category there is: ice cream, Sacred Serve was born.

Sacred Serve packaging can not only be recycled, but is compostable as well.  

There will NOT be secure storage available for personal belongings on site, guests can leave their belongings on the shuttle as the driver will not leave the bus, however in all cases Smithers and Ideal Charter are not responsible for any lost or stolen items.