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Brick Street Farms unveils first look at urban farming hubs

Veronica Brezina



A rendering of one of Brick Street Farms' hubs. Brick Street Farms.

Brick Street Farms has revealed a rendering of what its green-energy urban farming hubs will look like. They will provide an all-inclusive onsite farming and retail location in urban cores. 

Headquartered in St. Petersburg’s Warehouse Arts District, Brick Street Farms operates a hydroponic farm that uses 16 climate-controlled shipping containers to grow its produce.

The company plans to bring its self-contained, environmentally sustainable containers and technology to St. Pete and Tampa with Thrive-branded containers.  

Brick Street Farms

Brad Doyle (left) and Shannon O’Malley, the owners of Brick Street Farms. Photo provided.

“We started in 2016 with the goal to bring urban farming to densely-populated areas and eliminate the supply chain. By building ‘Thrive’ containers, our goal is to fulfill that mission,” said co-owner Shannon O’Malley.

The Thrive name is made to differentiate the containers, as they will have advanced high-tech features. 

Today, Brick Street Farms grows more than 44 varieties of plants, including romaine, kale and oregano.  

Brick Street Farms also works with hospitality partners such as the Don CeSar and the Vinoy, and with many restaurants such as Pacific Counter and The Naked Farmer. Brick Street Farms handles the entire transaction and packaging process, from seed to sale, without a third party so the company can control the quality. 

O’Malley said they were able to recently secure business with Lakeland-based grocer Publix Supermarkets Inc. for supplying its GreenWise stores. 

“In early 2020 when the pandemic hit and caused restaurants to shut down, we were left with excess product. Publix reached out to us to include us in the GreenWise stores,” O’Malley said. One of the shipping containers is situated at the GreenWise market in Lakeland, where produce is literally moved from the container through the backdoor.  

To expand its reach, the new Thrive-branded containers will be able to produce the same amount of products grown between 16 to 20 acres of farmland on just one-third acre parking lots.  

The duo expects to open the first independent prototype, at 2001 2nd Avenue S. in St. Pete, in February. They purchased the property years ago and operated there until they needed additional space and relocated several blocks away. They remain the property owners. 

The second Thrive unit would be in Tampa. O’Malley said she has not nailed down a site yet, but has her eyes on potential properties in Water Street, Ybor City, and West and East Tampa.

“Our hubs are meant to be in urban cores where people can walk and commute easily,” she said. 

The overall square footage of the containers and associated technology will be approximately 3,500 square feet. The entire site would encompass 5,000 square feet, including green space and parking. 

The team is also working on a home-delivery produce model. 

The funding for the Thrive containers has been propelled by Lykes Bros., one of the oldest and largest agribusinesses in Florida. The company made a multi-million investment in Brick Street Farms earlier this year. 

The company has initiated multiple strategies to save water and electricity.

The company uses three primary water sources: A HVAC condensate, a re-filtered rainwater catchment system, and city water, which is only used after the first two resources have been utilized. 

Brick Street Farms also has numerous technologies to help offset electricity needs. The units have solar panels and the company utilizes a time-of-use meter through Duke Energy that uses power only during the off-peak time to reduce strain to the electric grid. 

Additionally, O’Malley said, they plan to have a natural gas backup generation. 

When the new Thrive containers come online, Brick Street Farms will have over 24 shipping container farms in operation. 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Rita Sewell

    October 25, 2021at4:34 pm

    Thank you for bringing the 21st-century to St Petersburg. Our opportunity to have access to fresh food specifically vegetables is a game changer for many people. That and the perma culture planning that the city Council has approved will only add to the success and the health of our community. I support whole food plant-based living where ever it can happen.

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