Quantcast

Gotham Greens + Method = World’s Largest Rooftop Greenhouse Coming to Chicago

Food

Chicago probably isn't the first place that comes to mind when you think of farming, but the city's Pullman Park district will soon be home to the largest rooftop greenhouse in the world. Once construction is complete, the behemoth 75,000 square foot green space, built and operated by Gotham Greens, will be larger than a football stadium and even some city blocks.

As Business Insider puts it, "For some perspective on the size of the greenhouse: the average size of a city block in many parts of the U.S.—including Portland, Oregon and Houston, Texas—is 67,600 square feet. An NFL football field is 57,600 square feet. This greenhouse is larger than all of these things."

According to Gotham Greens, the greenhouse will produce up to 1 million pounds of sustainably grown, pesticide-free produce annually. The harvest will also be distributed through local retailers, restaurants, farmer’s markets and community groups. Since the greens are grown locally, it eliminates the carbon emissions and miles that food traditionally travels to get to Chicago's plates.

"This is an exciting opportunity to bring fresh, healthy produce year-round to Pullman, which is underserved for food, and going through an exciting resurgence in economic development,” Gotham Greens CEO Viraj Puri told DNAInfo. The rooftop farm is also expected to hire 40 workers to help grow the produce, the site reported.

The greenhouse features a slew of innovative farming technologies. With its soil-free hydroponic system, "Gotham Greens' irrigation methods use 20 times less land and 10 times less water and eliminate the need for pesticide use and fertilizer runoff," the company said. A computer-controlled system also regulates temperatures, irrigation needs and other variables, Business Insider noted.

Gotham Green's massive greenhouse in Chicago sits on top of Method's LEED Platinum soap factory that has a giant wind turbine and solar trees parked in the parking lot. Photo credit: William McDonough + Partners, Architects

What's interesting is that Chicago's new greenhouse will sit on top of an already environmentally friendly factory occupied by eco-soap company Method. Designed by Cradle to Cradle company William McDonough + Partners, the $30 million building is the nation's first LEED Platinum manufacturing plant in this sector.

Read page 1

Method's so-called South Side Soapbox, contains a 230-foot wind turbine as well as three 35 x 35-foot solar tracking trees that follows the sun's path to maximize energy generation. According to Business Insider, this clean energy helps generate "a third" of the building's energy needs.

"Gotham Greens shares our goal of using business as a force for social and environmental good," Drew Fraser, CEO of Method, said in the press release. "We are thrilled to partner with a like-minded organization, who has demonstrated that the innovative, adaptive use of urban space can make a significant impact on local communities."

When the greenhouse is finally built, it will also help insulate the building to keep costs down even further, improve urban air quality and reduce stormwater runoff.

"We need to use our urban spaces more efficiently," Method's chief greenskeeper Saskia Van Gendt told Business Insider. "Rooftop greenhouses are a representation of a model of doing that."

It's a stroke of genius to bring these eco-minded companies together. As EcoWatch previously reported, Gotham Greens now has four state of the art greenhouses where its workers grow organic greens year round. Its flagship greenhouse in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, was built back in 2010 and was the first commercial scale rooftop greenhouse in the U.S, according to the company. Method, known for its colorfully pleasing soap bottles and for introducing the world's first bottle made of ocean waste, formulates its products with naturally derived, biodegradable ingredients.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel only had nice words to say about the partnership. "Method has been instrumental in supporting the revitalization happening in Pullman, and the addition of this sustainable greenhouse means that more Chicago residents will have access to fresh, healthy foods grown in the neighborhood," Emanuel said in the release. "I commend both Method and Gotham Greens on their commitment to Pullman and look forward to seeing the results of this partnership come to fruition."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

1o Countries Taking the ‘LEED’ in Green Building

World’s Largest Indoor Vertical Farm Breaks Ground in Newark, New Jersey

Take a Tour of the World’s Most Sustainable Office Building

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Students gathered at the National Mall in Washington DC, Sept. 20. NRDC

By Jeff Turrentine

Nearly 20 years have passed since the journalist Malcolm Gladwell popularized the term tipping point, in his best-selling book of the same name. The phrase denotes the moment that a certain idea, behavior, or practice catches on exponentially and gains widespread currency throughout a culture. Having transcended its roots in sociological theory, the tipping point is now part of our everyday vernacular. We use it in scientific contexts to describe, for instance, the climatological point of no return that we'll hit if we allow average global temperatures to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. But we also use it to describe everything from resistance movements to the disenchantment of hockey fans when their team is on a losing streak.

Read More Show Less
samael334 / iStock / Getty Images

By Ruairi Robertson, PhD

Berries are small, soft, round fruit of various colors — mainly blue, red, or purple.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A glacier is seen in the Kenai Mountains on Sept. 6, near Primrose, Alaska. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey have been studying the glaciers in the area since 1966 and their studies show that the warming climate has resulted in sustained glacial mass loss as melting outpaced the accumulation of new snow and ice. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Mark Mancini

On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.

Read More Show Less
Members of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America table at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18. Alex Schwartz

By Alex Schwartz

Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.

Read More Show Less
StephanieFrey / iStock / Getty Images

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Muffins are a popular, sweet treat.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Hackney primary school students went to the Town Hall on May 24 in London after school to protest about the climate emergency. Jenny Matthews / In Pictures / Getty Images

By Caroline Hickman

Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?

Read More Show Less
Myrtle warbler. Gillfoto / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Bird watching in the U.S. may be a lot harder than it once was, since bird populations are dropping off in droves, according to a new study.

Read More Show Less
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announces the co-founding of The Climate Pledge at the National Press Club on Sept. 19 in Washington, DC. Paul Morigi / Getty Images for Amazon

The day before over 1,500 Amazon.com employees planned a walkout to participate in today's global climate strike, CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled a sweeping plan for the retail and media giant to be carbon neutral by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris agreement schedule.

Read More Show Less