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#InsideTheBox – Saving Land, One Shipping Container At A Time!

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Saving land, one shipping container at a time! 

Ok, bear with us a little bit and nerd out for a second. Wild habitats are being squeezed out to make way for commercial farming, and it’s not ok.

71% of our planet is habitable land, and out of that 50% is being used for commercial farming. 50%! 77% of that 50 is livestock, and 23% is used for crops.

That leaves only 37% for natural ecosystems. That means that big agriculture is one of humanity’s largest impacts on our environment. Because of the destruction of biodiversity every time a natural ecosystem is demolished, 28,000 species are estimated to be threatened. As humans, we rely on so many species for the survival of the environment, as we know it!

You can actively reduce that impact through dietary changes. We urge everyone to eat less commercially farmed meats, livestock, and dairy! Supplement it with plant-based foods! And secondly, support technology that is sustainable, and saves land!

Within each of our shipping containers, we can fit almost 3 acres of farmland! On our current warehouse concrete lot, we will house 16 fulling operational farms. That means on one city block you will find 48 acres of farmland. We hope we can work towards giving some of that land back to nature.

#AlwaysLocal Watch Out For Greenwashing!

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Watch Out For Greenwashing! 

Help us end greenwashing now! Greenwashing is a marketing spin used often in restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, and in many other companies where their public relations department deceptively persuade their customers that they are environmentally friendly, or are using hyper-local products on their menu or in their company.

As a consumer, we urge you to stay informed, and ask questions! If a restaurant is claiming to use hyper-local vendors and produce, ask them where they are sourcing it from. If what you’re eating doesn’t taste amazing and fresh, oftentimes it isn’t and it’s been falsely sold to you.

We have had this happen here at Brick Street more than once and we’re putting the crackdown!

A few years back the Tampa Bay Time’s former food critic wrote a Pultizer Prize nominated article about this. Read it below!

Eat Safe Lettuce! Another CDC Outbreak.

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Lettuce Recall!

Attention! This just in from the CDC! OUTBREAK UPDATE: There have been 303 more sick people reported in the Cyclospora outbreak linked to recalled bagged salad mixes. Recalled brands include Fresh Express, ALDI Little Salad Bar, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco Signature Farms, ShopRite Wholesome Pantry, and Walmart Marketside. Look for a “Z” at the beginning of the product code then number “178” or lower. Do not eat them and throw any remaining salad away. See the full list of products on the FDA website.

Why do romaine and other mass-produced lettuces get recalled so much, you ask? When you farm on this scale there are many factors including a lack of bathroom facilities for farmworkers, poorly processed pig and cow manure used in the soil, and mice and rodent infestations within the machinery, warehouses, and trucks used to process and transport the produce.

There is an easy way to skip getting sick. Buy Brick Street Farms baby romaine! Because of our controlled indoor farming, strict sanitary guidelines, and hyper-local distribution, you’ll never find any harmful bacterias on our produce to get you sick.

BSF In The News – Lakeland Publix GreenWise grand opening: ‘This is crazy busy’

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Shoppers flocked to Thursday’s highly anticipated grand opening of Lakeland’s first GreenWise Market, a specialty brand of Publix Super Markets.

LAKELAND — There’s a new player on the scene-stealing some thunder from Publix. And that’s A-OK with corporate brass.

Thursday’s grand opening of GreenWise Market in South Lakeland portends a new era in the evolution of Publix Super Markets, Inc., which is based in Lakeland. Judging by the crowds, shoppers certainly seem smitten with the first such market in Polk County and one of only six in existence, though many more are in the works throughout Florida and other southeastern states…

… The store’s produce section includes a line of packaged lettuces from Brick Street Farms in Pinellas County, which specializes in greens grown hydroponically with very little water and no pesticides, thanks to a system enclosed in customized shipping containers.

In coming weeks one of the containers will be positioned on site at GreenWise Market in Lakeland, optimizing the “fresh” quality of Brick Street’s greens.

Click here to read the full story:



Brick Street Farms is a hidden gem producing fresh food

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay is full of hidden gems, and even hidden farms.

Brick Street Farms is nestled off of 2nd Avenue South in downtown St. Petersburg, and is making the most of its modest space. It opened about two years ago. At the time, it only served its produce to local restaurants and hotels. Then, more than a year ago, the farm opened its doors to the public with retail and farm memberships.
“We specialize in all things leafy green,” said owner Shannon O’Malley, who actually worked with computers before switching to farming. “So, we have about 10 to 12 varieties of lettuce. We do four to five varieties of baby kale, chard, herbs, edible flowers, microgreens, sprouts.”

All the growing magic happens inside several containers, which totals roughly 1,200 square feet, but O’Malley says her farm is able to generate 430,000-square-feet worth of produce.

“We actually grow 8 to 10 acres of produce every five weeks,” O’Malley says. “We might look small, but we’re actually a commercial grower. We go through 50,000 plants every five weeks.”

Brick Street grows its crops hydroponically, striving to do the most with the least waste, tailoring water and light conditions specifically to what each type of plant likes.

“We use an LED lighting system, which means there’s no sunlight used. We control temperature, humidity, CO2 levels, nutrient levels,” O’Malley says. “We make every bit of use of the vertical space, which is why we’re able to cram so much into a small space.”

All that effort has put Brick Street’s team up to its eyeballs in leafy greens, but the farm is starting to branch out, recently digging into tomatoes, peppers, and strawberries.

It doesn’t get fresher than this either. O’Malley said everything goes straight from the farm to their market on-site or to their buyers within hours.

Speaking of the market — shoppers and farm members will find small batch products either grown on the property or locally made. In addition to produce, the market offers items like honey, vinegars, and kimchi. O’Malley says the offerings are constantly changing too.

“I definitely think this is the way of the future,” O’Malley says. “People really want to know where their food is coming from. We do everything without chemicals, without pesticides, no dirt, no bugs, non-GMO, no animal products, no animal fertilizers so we eliminate all the contaminant risks with our produce.”

Click here for the full article:

This St. Pete hydroponic farm is ready to expand

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Getting into business for yourself can be intimidating. Shannon O’Malley, the co-founder of the hydroponic farm, Brick Street Farms, knows the feeling all too well.

“It’s scary opening your own business,” O’Malley shared with 10News.

Brick Street Farms sells an assortment of leafy greens like romaine lettuce and microgreens to local restaurants and the Locale Market in Downtown St. Petersburg.

To get their business off the ground, O’Malley and her husband, Brad Doyle, invested their entire savings and 401K. Brick Street Farms started to sprout its first set of greens in October 2016. And since then, the business has taken off.

“People have this misconception of because we’re small we don’t produce as much as we really do,” said O’Malley.

Nearly two-and-a-half years later, the indoor hydroponic farm continues to thrive.

“We have more demand than we can fill,” O’Malley said.

O’Malley said the farm is currently in a fundraising round.

“We’ve got more demand from retail, more request for variety and demand from some of our wholesale restaurant accounts,” O’Malley explained.

The indoor hydroponic farm produces eight to 10 acres worth of mixed greens every five weeks.

“An average farm has between five and six harvests a year; we have 11. It doesn’t stop.” O’Malley said.

In the following video, O’Malley explains why she and her husband chose Tampa Bay to start their business and how their idea eliminates the worry of contaminated leafy greens.

Check out the article here:

Farm fresh greens flourish inside ‘Brick Street Farms’

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Take a bite out of this one! A hidden gem in the heart of St. Petersburg is taking farm to table to a whole new level.

Brick Street Farms is a hydroponic, indoor growing farm specializing in leafy greens and herbs.

All of the produce is grown inside converted greenhouse shipping containers.

The organic company doesn’t use any pesticides, chemicals, fertilizer or animal-based products.

The green goodness is harvested within hours of ending up in your hands at the public farm market.

A half-pound of mixed greens will cost you around $6-$8 when the farm is open Wednesday to Saturday.

A membership to get discounts and first around $200, but walk-ins are welcome.

The hidden gem is nestled away in the heart of St. Pete at 2001 2nd Ave. S.

Check out the article here:

Creative Loafing Tampa Bay – November 2016

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Ever seen a farm with high-tech software or LED lighting? If not, pay a visit to Brick Street Farms.

The indoor hydroponic farm, owned by wife-and-husband duo Shannon O’Malley and Bradley Doyle, doesn’t look like much from the outside. But spread out over green upcycled freight containers, planted inside a wooden fence that surrounds the former site of an abandoned junkyard at 2001 Second Ave. S., Brick Street has spent close to a year quietly blossoming in St. Petersburg.

What makes up this city farm’s local, vertically grown bounty? Herbs and leafy greens.

“We started harvesting about two or three weeks ago,” says O’Malley, who works for a St. Pete-based IT company, as does her husband. “We’re almost at full scale right now, so it’s been kind of a slow burn getting everything ready.”

It’s taken a significant amount of work to turn their less-than-half-acre Grand Central District property — which was “very dilapidated” and hadn’t had utilities in 20 to 30 years — into an urban farm. They’ve cleaned up old car parts that were left behind, added electric and water, and even had environmental testing done on the site to ensure it’s safe.

For the couple, who’ve put their enthusiasm for at-home hydroponics, which began as a hobby, into producing organic fields of green at Brick Street, that part’s been exciting.

“That’s one of the coolest things about the project, on top of the farms and obviously indoor hydroponics, being able to [clean up] a piece of property that’s been kind of an eyesore in St. Pete for quite a long time,” Doyle says.

A Pennsylvania native and a homegrown Floridian respectively, O’Malley and Doyle met five years ago, but didn’t get together until after a happenstance encounter: On Christmas Day, as she headed out for a jog on Bayshore Boulevard, he was ending his own. Doyle remembered who she was and stopped her, asking, “What are you doing here?”

“I’m back in town,” said O’Malley, who had moved away for a bit.

He asked her out, they met up for a drink later that night and that was that. The couple’s lived in St. Pete for three years now.

For more…

Earth Watch: Brick Street Farms Fox 13

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– 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.

For full article, click here!

Brick Street Farms – The Tastiest Tech in St. Pete

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The conversation about the necessity to increase the amount of food grown without having more space to grow it on is not a new one. The Yale article, “New Green Challenge: How to Grow More Food on Less Land” talks about it in March 2016. The Guardian has an intriguing article from July 2015, “We need to grow 50% more food yet agriculture causes climate change. How do we get out of this bind?

Brick Street Farms, here in St. Pete, isn’t going to solve all of the world’s food/agriculture problems, but they do have some really cool technology and mighty tasty, fresh healthy greens and herbs all grown inside with no pesticides, no water runoff, or growing seasons to worry about … and they grow vertically in less than 1/10th the amount of space a traditional farm would require. (If you really do the math, they use 7/100ths of the space of a horizontal farm that grows plants in the ground.) We’ll have another fun calculation for you a little further in.

Lori told me about the article on Brick Street Farms in Creative Loafing, but that went in one ear and out the other. (They actually made the cover of the print edition.) It didn’t register at all with me, so they were not on my radar. Then I woke up way too early one morning, at 3:30 am, and picked up my iPad and started scrolling through my food related subscriptions in Apple News, (St. Petersburg Foodies IS in Apple News by the way), and found something on Brick Street Farms, and we arranged for a visit.

Brick Street Farms is a “hydroponic, indoor growing facility that produces leafy greens and herbs year-round in highly technology based, climate controlled environments.”

This delicious, earth-friendly, techy combo is the brainchild of Shannon O’Malley. She and her husband, Brad Doyle, run the indoor vertical farm part time using an app on their phones which controls the temperature, humidity, lights and nutrients.

Shannon was at her “regular job” when we visited on Thursday, but we came back on Saturday to pick up our order of greens, and chatted with her for an hour. The business is continuing to grow (no pun intended), and it won’t be long until Shannon is running the business full time.

For full article, click here!


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