Brick Street Farms is Creating a Local Food Revolution
We require food, water and shelter to survive. With the ever-growing population and depletion of natural resources, it is vital that we remain ahead of the game and utilize technology to benefit production. How do we do this while maintaining high quality and healthy products to consume? More importantly, how do we do this in Florida, where the tropical climate makes it nearly impossible to grow leafy greens for the majority of a year? Rather than expanding farms out, farmers need to grow up, and indoors. It sounds like a foreign concept to most of us, but there’s a commercial farm in Downtown St. Pete that is doing just that. Brick Street Farms, located at 2001 2nd Avenue South, is a hydroponic, vertical farm that produces year-round in environmentally controlled shipping containers.
How did Brick Street Farms begin?
Shannon O’Malley and Brad Doyle met a few years ago while running on Christmas Day and have been organically growing a beautiful love story ever since. This husband and wife team began as self-taught backyard growers when they were fed up with the quality of leafy greens in Florida. However, they quickly ran into a problem: it gets too hot after March.
The road to indoor farming.
“What’s an alternative to warehouse?” Shipping containers. Although they did not invent the technology, these two put their brains together and figured out how to scale it down to fit containers, rather than a large warehouse.
Why is hydroponic, vertical farming beneficial?
Indoor farming seems to be more prevalent up north because folks tend to think of short growing seasons in the winter, but we forget about short growing seasons in tropical climates. Did you know that the quality of produce in Florida is subpar compared to other parts of the country, due to the lack of variety and short growing seasons with summer heat and rain.
Why not bring indoor commercial farming to this part of the country? Sure, other indoor farms exist in warehouses in the area, but Brick Street Farms is the only farm using shipping containers in the southeast. It’s more affordable, portable and there are many benefits of controlling each container as an individual climate.
Controlling the climate in each container.
These farmers have the ability to control all factors in each environment: temperature, humidity, co2, daylight, nutrients, and no pests!
As a result, they are able to grow 40% faster than traditional farms. How? Daylight runs 18 hours a day and liquid nutrients are infused directly into water tanks. This makes it easier for the plants to access what they need to grow.
How many acres is it equivalent to?
Each of the three containers grow 2 acres worth of produce per month. There are roughly 300 8-foot vertical towers per farm, which results in 3800-4200 plants per month per container.
Is Brick Street Farms conserving water?
Recycled water is the way to go! There are two tanks that are filled up once and recycled throughout the farm, a 30-gallon and 160-gallon tank. There is virtually no run off, and the only loss is 5 gallons per farm per day of what the plants use and evaporation.
How to enjoy these high-quality greens?
Local Downtown St. Pete restaurants proudly support Brick Street Farms. Look for their name on the menu. Or order through their website and open farm hours for pick up on select nights throughout the week.
Brick Street also partners with other local businesses for pop up dinners throughout the year.
This summer, buy your fresh produce and experience their markets on Saturdays!
DowntownStPete.com is proud to inform you of the 5-star places, personalities and events to attend in DTSP. Shannon O’Malley and Brad Doyle of Brick Street Farms fits within our mission, as they are producing high quality, unique produce in the heart of the city and creating a local food revolution!