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Chicago Food Heritage Site Reimagined as 21st-Century Food Hub

By Meredith Sayles Hughes


Tags: food history, food heritage, aquaponics, food hubs, Illinois, Meredith Sayles Hughes,

Sometimes food heritage sites gain new life, years after their original purpose has been superseded. Such is the case with a Chicago meat-packing facility built in the Union Stockyards in 1925. Peer Building

The company began much earlier than that, right after the Civil War. It was established as a meat-cutting and curing firm by a German immigrant from Stuttgart named Christian Buehler in Peoria, Illinois. His sons went on to create a string of stores called Buehler Brothers Meat Markets in Chicago, in 1894. And then later the packing building, to serve the markets. The company name changed to Peer Food Products in 1944.

But then, in 2006, Peer sold, and a new firm stepped up to take possession of the old brick building in the Stockyards.

Bubbly Dynamics bought it in 2010, and resolved to keep as much of the 93,500 square foot old construction as was reasonable.

The company is retrofitting the place they call The Plant to create a “net-zero energy, food business incubator.”  

“The Plant will hold indoor demonstration farms and educational facilities operated by Plant Chicago, NFP and will incubate sustainable food businesses by offering permanent tenant spaces at low rent and low energy costs.” 

New Facade Chicago Plant

The intention is to do aquatonics at The Plant, or grow fish and veggies in water.

You can read more about this re-purposing project of a food heritage site here

For more food history and food heritage info visit The Food Museum.