During today’s sustainable living show we talked to Andy O’Malley and Shannon O’Malley about hydroponics in shipping containers.
We also talked to Zach Correa who founded lemonGRAFT in Tampa.
Brick Street Farms
Shannon O’Malley started Brick Street Farms back in 2015 with the vision of creating a food system that truly brings food production to the point of consumption. Shannon is unique in the world of urban farming as the only female CEO with experience in both design and manufacturing of the container farms as well as the operation of those farms for financial sustainability.
Andy O’Malley is the General Manager of Farm Operations at Brick Street Farms. He joined the team in March of 2020. Andy has always been drawn to growing anything green, but it wasn’t until he got off active duty in the Marine Corps that he decided to follow his passion and make a career out of it.
Located in St. Pete, Brick Street Farms is truly unique with how they grow their leafy greens.
“We design, build and engineer shipping container farms which is a unique aspect of our hydroponic farming operation as opposed to perhaps a large warehouse or even a greenhouse,” said Shannon O’Malley.
There are many perks to growing leafy greens in shipping containers as opposed to a traditional farm. A couple of the main benefits are less water consumption and much less land is needed to grow leafy greens in shipping containers.
“Compared to traditional farming, we do use exponentially less water which is beneficial especially here in the state of Florida,” said Andy O’Malley. “Another reason is it’s really difficult to control the environment, especially in Florida with the heat. Inside the shipping containers there so insulated that we can maintain the perfect environment to grow year round … just one of our farms alone can push out 500 pounds of lettuce every month.”
Another unique benefit to growing in shipping containers is being able to grow produce basically anywhere including urban environments like downtown St. Pete.
“Brick Street Farms is located in the Warehouse Arts District in downtown St. Pete and currently on this property we have 17 shipping containers,” said Shannon O’Malley. “Right now we are growing 48 acres worth of produce on less than 5,000 square feet.”
Zach Correa has a solution to make sure no fruits or vegetables go to waste throughout the neighborhood.
lemonGRAFT is an online platform where you can buy and sell home-grown produce. It enables communities to coordinate their growing to increase biodiversity and restore health. People are now able to buy the produce they want, from who they want.
“lemonGRAFT is an online peer to peer crowdsourcing platform for buying and selling local home-grown food,” said Correa. “People tend to think of it like Airbnb but for buying your neighbors produce. You can go onto lemongraft.com and you’ll be able to shop in your neighbors backyard.”