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Creative Loafing Tampa Bay - November 2016

July 29, 2018 // News

Article

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… https://www.cltampa.com/food-drink/food-features/article/20841804/farm-fresh-a-st-pete-city-farm-uses-technology-to-grow-its-local-bounty

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