The town of Pullman, located on Chicago’s Far South Side, is in the process of designing a hydroponic greenhouse facility that will be capable of growing more than 560,000 pounds (~254,011 kilos) of produce annually.
The facility, called Vertical Greenhouse, will employ approximately 50 to 60 workers in full-time living wage jobs. The development will also include an on-site market, a commercial kitchen, and a food depository. Nutrition and cooking classes will be offered for members of the community, and the facility will be open for public tours.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository estimates 36% to 55% of residents in the Pullman area are at risk of food insecurity — meaning they lack consistent, reliable access to food.
“That’s going to help bridge the gap for the food desert that has plagued my community for so very long, bring more jobs and opportunity,” said Alderman Anthony Beale. “And to put it right next to subsidized housing where we can employ people right next door, I think is going to really have an added benefit to what we are trying to do in the community.”
The greenhouse is a product of Vertical Harvest – the first urban vertical greenhouse in the United States – and is funded in part by a $1 million grant from “We Rise Together” – a project of the Chicago Community Trust and other organizations designed to provide aid to developments in under-resourced communities. Currently still in the design phase, an existing Vertical Harvest greenhouse in Jackson, Wyoming, will serve as proof-of-concept for Pullman’s greenhouse. The facility will cover 63,000 square-feet, will cost approximately $40 million, and is scheduled to be completed in 2023.