Dear Plant Chicago Supporter,
We are writing with some important news. In October, Plant Chicago will begin winding down our physical presence at The Plant, beginning with our administration and education spaces. Our work in education, farmers markets, research, and small business support has been a tangible asset to the collaborative community inside The Plant as well as the Back of the Yards neighborhood and surrounding area. As the lone non-profit tenant inside The Plant we are proud of what we have accomplished. We remain committed to collaborating with the wonderful community of co-located small businesses that have grown up with us over the years.
Regardless of our location, our commitment to our mission to cultivate local circular economies at the neighborhood level has not waned. In fact, these recent developments have prompted fascinating conversations with like-minded, value-aligned organizations (non-profits and for profits alike). These discussions are uncovering exciting opportunities to support circular economies and other mission-based activities in new and innovative ways.
Our last market at The Plant will be on Saturday, October 5. With the support of the USDA, we plan to host pop-up markets in the Back of the Yards neighborhood throughout the winter to support small businesses and southwest side communities. We expect to resume a regular market schedule by Summer of 2020.
This move will allow us to focus even more on supporting small businesses. Thanks to the Coleman Foundation, we will be piloting the first Circular Economy Network for Small Businesses, which will bring together new and existing small businesses to share knowledge and resources while diverting materials from the landfill and growing their bottom line. With the support of the Robert and Toni Bader Foundation, Plant Chicago’s Circular Economy Toolkit for Small Businesses will launch in early 2020. More to come soon!
Plant Chicago’s indoor/outdoor farms will remain at The Plant until the end of the year. Our farm, lab, and workshop spaces have been integral to many of our education programs, serving school groups, hobbyists, and early stage entrepreneurs. We are actively looking for a new location to rebuild so that our programs and spaces remain open sourced and accessible.
There are still a few opportunities to support Plant Chicago before the big move!
Our 2nd Annual Closed Loop Forum is this Saturday, September 28th. Join us to explore how businesses, communities, and local governments are implementing the circular economy. Our annual Harvest Dinner fundraiser will take place at Low Res Studio on November 14th, featuring top chefs and circular economy entrepreneurs. We hope you can join us to celebrate our accomplishments and future projects.
The transition over the next few months will pose challenges, but we remain optimistic largely due to the support of you, the Plant Chicago community. Together, we’ve rebuilt farms — many times over, developed programs that engage more than 10,000 people each year, hosted over 50 workshops with or for small businesses, and welcomed into our spaces tens of thousands of youth, businesses, and entrepreneurs.
We’re incredibly proud of what we have accomplished. These efforts will be the foundation of the great things we can do together in our next chapter. Thank you for being a supporter.
We look forward to keeping you apprised of our progress.
– Plant Chicago Board of Directors and Staff