Yeah, we get asked these a lot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Simply put, we intend to grow vegetables aquaponically in containers at sea.
At some point, the greenhouse will need ventilation and in doing so, you leave your crop and system especially vulnerable to an influx of pests. How is our system different? We will grow in specially customized containers that are atmospherically controlled to the exact temperature that a specific crop needs and the watering schedule and lighting can also be customized. One of the biggest reasons we will grow at sea is that when you are on the ocean, further than 25 miles from any coastline – there are no insect pests there. You do not have grasshoppers, cut worms, aphids, horn worms, and cabbage moths, among other insects. We also would not have animal problems such as rodents, deer, rabbit, raccoon, or birds. Threat of chemical drift from neighboring farm fields would also be inapplicable at sea.
Initially, we will use an Offshore Supply Vessel or OSV with about 20-30 crew, laborers, and scientists on board for our Proof of Concept vessel. After our Proof of Concept trial, that vessel will be large enough to continue to be profitable and an ambassador ship for Brent Floating Farms.
After that point, we will have a container ship custom-built for us that will handle approximately 600 containers.
Aquaponic growing can easily incorporate technology to provide the best growing environment, and aquaponics negates the need for weeding – which further eases the workload of farming, decreasing labor costs and the quantity of workers needed.
Some crops are very well suited to aquaponics and other’s aren’t. Some basics that we intend to grow include lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, beans, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, kale and celery; herb favorites including mint, parsley, cilantro/coriander, dill, basil, oregano, thyme and chamomile. Strawberries and small melons will also be viable crops.
Aside from that, we intend to have chickens as egglayers, quail for meat and eggs, and rabbits as green protein sources for omnivorous folks who are conscientious eaters needing additional protein. As much as we love dairy, I don’t see diary or cheese production on board our ships.
Our aquaponics is a freshwater system that is on the ocean as opposed to in the ocean. Most plants will not tolerate salt water.
I’ve heard that they are growing on barges in Asia. Why not decrease your startup costs and use barges instead of a ship?
One of the biggest challenges that a dirt-farmer faces is weather. No matter where you are growing, each region has its unique weather-related threats including tornadoes, hurricanes, windstorms, hail, flooding, drought, wildfires, avalanches, mudslides and earthquakes. For years, Cinda has grown tomatoes in containers such that they can be moved to the best location, indoors or outdoors, and extend the growing season and health of the plants. In a like manner, by using a ship that is motorized verses a stationary barge; a Brent Floating Farms vessel can avoid major storms simply by altering the ship’s course as there is typically ample warning beforehand.
Remember when Puerto Rico was devastated by a hurricane? In such a tragedy, one of our ships could steer around the storm and also provide aid after the weather calms. We could bring not only crucial food to storm survivals but a ship produces its own drinking water and electricity as well. This could speed lifesaving medical treatment and lessen the impact of natural disasters.
Frank and I have been dirt farmers and understand the struggles faced there. Those struggles turned us to learn and master growing aquaponically. As a US Navy Veteran, Frank intimately understands the perks of living at sea without pests and the challenges that growing at sea may bring us. That foundation, combined with our love for food and fresh cuisine, has fueled our passion for this venture.