The chefs at Eat Street Northshore’s PIZZA & PASTA don’t need to look far to find basil, a key ingredient in the mouth-watering meals they pump out each weekend.

 The verdant herb is grown only metres from the popular Italian food vendor, in a converted 12m shipping container perched above the venue.

 The handiwork of Brisbane company Modular Farms Australia, the container houses a custom-designed indoor vertical farming system that produces herbs and vegetables, free from pesticides and using less energy and water than other farming methods.

Modular Farms at Eat Street is just steps away from it’s customers.

Photo Credit: Eat Street Northshore, Facebook Page

 Modular Farms Australia Director James Pateras says there are natural synergies between his company and the iconic Northshore Brisbane dining destination.

 “Eat Street approached us when we were building our prototype urban farm and it was such a logical fit with a precinct where food vendors operate from converted shipping containers,” he says.

“The relationship fits with our mission to reduce food miles and promote a close circular economy when it comes to food supply. What better way to provide these vendors with fresh produce, herbs and leafy greens than by growing them on their doorstep?”

James’s Pateras and basil crops inside Modular Farms at Eat Street, Northshore

 Mr Pateras estimates in any given week, Eat Street’s urban farm produces 15kg of basil, 8kg of rainbow chard, 5kg of kale and 6-8kg of leafy lettuce greens.

 “Bob, who runs PIZZA & PASTA at Eat Street, buys 10kg of basil each week from us.”

 TIME TO TAKE ACTION

 The modular farm is one of several sustainability initiatives adopted by Eat Street after a 2018 review of its operations identified room for improvement.

 Eat Street Northshore venue manager Wendy Lacey says the venue’s top priority is to drastically reduce and redirect the amount of waste going to landfill.

 “I’m known as a bit of a waste warrior,” Ms Lacey jokes as she details the comprehensive back-of-house training that vendors and staff receive, as well as the front-of-house measures employed for visitors.

 Since July 2018, Eat Street has recorded a 58 per cent reduction in general waste, achieved through:

  • Composting: vendors only use compostable food packaging for in-venue dining
  • Cooking oil recycling: up to 500L of cooking oil is recycled per week
  • Food scraps: at least one cubic metre of food waste is collected weekly and used as animal feed on a drought-affected farm in Warwick
  • Scrap metal: 20L oil tins and large fruit and vegetable tins are sent to scrap metal
  • Oyster shells: shells are collected, washed, dried and sent to OzFish who use them to build artificial reefs in Moreton Bay
  • Cardboard recycling: 16 cubic metres of cardboard are compacted and recycled each week
  • General recycling: plastic buckets repurposed and reused, cans and bottles are sent to Containers for Change with the refund amount donated to Variety – The Children’s Charity and plastic bottle caps and lids donated to the Rotary Club of Hamilton’s CAPS CRUSADE CLUB, founded by the Ocean Crusaders.

Waste management bins at Eat Street, Northshore.

Photo Credit: Eat Street Northshore Facebook

“There’s very little going to general waste, we’re either reusing or recycling in some shape or form but we’re always looking for more we can do,” Ms Lacey says.

 “We have amazing cleaners who are really well-trained and go through our rubbish twice –first when they clear the tables, remove contaminants and sort the rubbish into their correct bins, then again the next day when they go through the bins in daylight to make sure nothing is missed.”

 She said sustainability education – for vendors, visitors and contractors – remained a vigilant focus at Eat Street and across the entire world-class Northshore precinct.

Students building a new artificial reef from used Oyster Shells collected at Eat Street.

Photo Credit: Eat Street Northshore

THE BIGGER PICTURE

 Northshore Brisbane is at the forefront of sustainability and environmental innovation, combining smart technology, energy efficiency, sustainable design principles, habitat and biodiversity management, waste minimisation and eco-friendly infrastructure and planning.

 “It’s good to see the whole precinct work together, the more everyone can do, the better it will be in the long run,” Ms Lacey says.

 “Strengthening sustainability processes can mean things like designing consistent bin systems across the precinct and taking a mindful approach to signage, updating signs with stickers so they can be reused instead of throwing them out and starting afresh.”

 Future generations are learning about sustainability by seeing it in action at Northshore with Eat Street hosting regular secondary school visits.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

 Buoyed by the success of its Eat Street modular farm, Mr Pateras says his company is in talks with Economic Development Queensland (EDQ) about developing other sustainability initiatives for Northshore.

 “There are so many great things happening at Northshore; it’s really growing and there’s an opportunity to engage more with the community there, to introduce and educate them about urban farming.

 “Down the track, we’d love to install another farm, one that operates more like an open fruit shop, maybe have chefs hosting late-night cook-ups using the produce grown and diners then able to purchase the edible produce on site.”

 Follow Northshore Brisbane on LinkedIn to learn more about the innovative and sustainability initiatives at Northshore and watch the precinct transform into a world leader in terms of sustainability.