WHO WE ARE
Between our dedicated staff and ever-growing legion of extraordinary volunteers, we have centuries of experience building, teaching and cultivating local circular economies. Together, we’re working to change the way we, as a city, think about our food and our environment.
WHAT WE DO
Our mission is to cultivate local circular economies.
We envision a paradigm shift in production, consumption and waste driven at the local level, generating equity and economic opportunity for all residents.
What is a Circular Economy?
At the facility scale, a circular economy can be described as conventional waste streams from one process being re-purposed as inputs for another, creating a circular, closed-loop model of material reuse.
At the local scale, it can be described as a collaborative economic practice sustained by local circulation of materials, nutrients, knowledge, and money. It’s empowered by transparency, diversity, and inclusion. Read more here.
We equip people and businesses with the tools to live more sustainably through community-driven, hands-on programs and innovative research projects.
Plant Chicago was established in 2011 as the anchor for the project known as The Plant, a collaborative community of food businesses on the southwest side of Chicago. For 8 years, Plant Chicago supported the ever evolving project and brought tangible benefits to the surrounding community.
We are now in the process of renovating an abandoned firehouse as a center for circular economy programming in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago. More on Plant Chicago's history can be found here.
Our Circular Economy Advisory Committee is composed of academic and industry professionals who guide our work to cultivate local circular systems.
Ning Ai, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Dept. of Urban Planning and Policy; Research Associate Professor, Inst. for Environmental Science and Policy
University of Illinois at Chicago
Weslynne Ashton, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Environmental Management and Sustainability
Stuart School of Business, Illinois Institute of Technology
Stephanie Katsaros, Founder
Bright Beat Consulting
John Mulrow, Ph.D. candidate, NSF Research Fellow
University of Illinois
Andre Nogueira, Ph.D, Visiting Scientist
Harvard T.H. Chan school of Public Health
Sabina L. Shaikh, Ph.D., Director, Program on Global Environment; Senior Lecturer, Environmental Studies and Public Policy Studies
University of Chicago
Tessa Vierk, Co-Founder
Chicago Tool Library
Our Auxiliary Board is a diverse group of young professionals who support Plant Chicago's activities + programs.
Rohit Agarwal, West Monroe Partners
Matt Chicola, The Greater Chicago Food Depository
Mark Doose, West Monroe Partners
Nat Froikin, Mashke Northwest
Emmett Fruin, Northwestern Medicine
Kassandra Hinrichsen, Common Threads
Tommy Straus, The Urban Canopy
Dan Tafelski, Chicago Public Schools
Bernice Vargas Luna, El Hongo Mágico Taqueria
Lucia Whalen, Openlands