Earth Watch: Brick Street Farms

- A vacant lot near Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg now grows beautiful leafy greens at Brick Street Farms. Three insulated old shipping containers were upcycled for indoor growing. Brad Doyle and his wife Shannon O’Mally began harvesting in October.

“This is her brainchild. She really has been a tremendous power to making this happen,” said Brad Doyle Co-Owner of Brick Street Farms.

They switched to container growing after their home Summer hydroponic garden failed.

“My wife had this grand idea of moving things indoors, doing it on much more of a grand scale,” Doyle explained.

One of the growing bins is set to 60 degrees, ideal for growing varieties of romaine. Blue and red LED lights mimic 18 hours of sunlight a day. Fans circulate air between the plants.

“Everything starts from a Non-GMO seed.   A humidity dome helps them  germinate.  They will then move from the germination tray to the seedling tray.  From here they get fed twice a day with water that comes up from underneath,” he said.

Water infused with natural nutrients stimulates growth. Plants are then transferred by hand to vertical growing towers. In only six weeks delicious produce is ready for harvest, about two to three weeks less time than on a standard farm.

“All of our water comes out of spickets  and is caught below the growing towers in gutters. It goes all the way into the back main tank and is completely recycle. All the water is in a closed loop. Each growing facility only uses a few gallons of water daily,” said Doyle.

Shipping container garden saves electricity too.

“We actually use 70% electricity than your average farm with the exact same acreage,” he said.

Their computer tech background helped them perfect the growing concept. They can monitor growing conditions 24/7 from their I-phones.

“We can see what the temperature is indoors what the humidity is,” explained Doyle.

Brick Street Farms is known for their unique varieties of greens and herbs like Coastal Star romaine and Red Olympia kale.

“Things you wouldn’t find somewhere else,” he said.

Restaurants in St Pete create their menu around some of these items. Produce is purchased and ready for pickup on a smaller scale a few times a week too.

“The local movement in St. Pete is huge. The support of the community has really been tremendous,’ said Doyle.

Supporting a uniquely delicious concept, hopefully for many years to come.

To learn more about Brick Street Farms you can go to

http://www.brickstreetfarms.com/

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