Chris McGuire and his wife, Erin, started a hydroponic garden at their home in Valrico about a year ago. The garden produced more food than they were able to consume, so they decided to sell the extra produce.  Backyard Food Solutions Produce Stand opened on August 1.

Chris McGuire of Backyard Food Solutions Produce Stand in Dover is hoping the community will come to him to buy fresh produce and eat healthier. McGuire and his wife, Erin, started a hydroponic garden at their home about a year ago. It’s a small garden with about 130 hydroponic towers with four to five pots on each of them. The pots hold about four plants.

Chris did not grow up on a farm, but he was always interested in agriculture and farming. “I began doing research and discovered hydroponics,” he said. “The more I learned about it, the more I realized it was something I wanted to do.”

He also liked the ecological benefits of the garden as well. “Water is a precious commodity and hydroponics makes the most of every drop because there is very little waste,” Chris said. “On top of all that it’s very environmentally friendly because there is little to no run off so you are not polluting the water sources.” The garden produced more food than the couple was able to consume, so they decided to sell the extra produce to their neighbors.

“I’ve been selling it to a lady who delivers fresh produce baskets to the neighborhood near us,” he said. Even though the couple was selling some of their produce, there was still a lot left over and they wanted to get rid of it. Chris admits he’s a capitalist and wants to make money so he came up with the idea to open a produce stand on his property.

The produce stand opened on August 1 it will be a pay per item set up. He will offer a wide range of seasonal vegetables and herbs. “You are buying something that comes straight from the farm when you buy from me,” Chris said. “It’s not going through a middle man, so there is less time for the food to go bad.” He also feels that farmers are a vanishing breed. “By supporting local farmers today, you can help ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow and that future generations will have access to nourishing, flavorful and abundant food,” Chris said. He has also started installing hydroponic gardens in residential communities in the Brandon area.

For more information on Backyard Food Solutions Produce Stand or if are interested in having a hydroponic garden installed, you can visit McGuire’s website at The produce stand is located at 1409 S. Dover Rd., in Dover.

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Libby is a writer for The Osprey Observer/The Christian Voice. She started as an intern in 2009 and upon finishing her internship, she was asked to stay on as a permanent writer for both papers. Libby lives in Brandon with her two rescue dogs, Olive and Bogey.