An empty lot near an affordable apartment complex in Pullman will soon be home to a new hydroponic farm.
Plans for the 63,000-square-foot Vertical Greenhouse were announced Monday. Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives and Mercy Housing will develop the project in partnership with Vertical Harvest.
It will be built next to the Pullman Wheelworks, 901 E. 104th St. Mercy Housing turned the former manufacturing facility into a 210-unit affordable housing complex in 1980.
Wyoming-based Vertical Harvest helps local groups bring jobs and healthy food to communities suffering high rates of unemployment and food insecurity.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository estimates 36% to 55% of residents in the Pullman/Roseland area are at risk of food insecurity — meaning they lack consistent, reliable access to food. The four-story greenhouse is intended to ease some of those concerns, growing more than 560,000 pounds of produce annually.
The project will cost $40 million to build and create 55 full-time jobs, according to a news release from the office of Ald. Anthony Beale (9th). It was jump-started with a $1 million grant from “We Rise Together,” an effort by the Chicago Community Trust and other organizations. It is expected to break ground early next year, and be completed in 2023. We Rise Together looks to galvanize job-producing developments in under-resourced areas.
In addition to the hydroponic greenhouse, the facility also will have an on-site market, a commercial kitchen and a food depository.
The site will be open for public tours and nutrition and cooking classes for neighborhood residents.
“Besides creating good local jobs, the Vertical Greenhouse is a creative solution to address the pressing need for easily accessible nutritious food in the Pullman/Roseland community,” Beale was quoted as saying in a press release.
Cheyanne M. Daniels is a staff reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South and West sides.