Updated: Feb 10
In our Getting to Know... series, we interview key members of Liberty’s team.
Today, Siobhan Brady, Liberty’s Operations Manager, tells us a bit about why she chose Liberty, how sustainability brought her to AgTech, and her interesting background in weaving and cocktail designing.
How did you end up in AgTech?
I graduated from a Textiles degree in Weaving from Central Saint Martins in August. At first, I wanted to do my degree in Print but then I decided to go for Weaving because, even though my degree isn’t directly related to tech, it’s much more technical than print is. Unfortunately, due to COVID, I had to finish it at home on the computer, which was a completely different way of doing Weaving.
Before that, I was a cocktail bartender for 4-5 years (and throughout my degree). I have a very wide knowledge of mixology and alcohol! I like making my own infusions and mixes as well as designing cocktails. I love The Cornish Pastiche, which contains sugar, lemon and spirit, as well as Chrysanthemum Vermouth. I know how to make hundreds of cocktails, and always use seasonal fruit. Later on, when I worked at a gin bar, I continued to do lots of infusions and just love the chemistry behind it all.
I only learned more about Vertical Farming once I joined Liberty, but my grandad is a fisherman, so I knew a bit about some types of farming and agriculture already. My grandad used to farm wild salmon and I often went fishing with him; you could even see dolphins! But, later on, there was a sewage plant down the road which unfortunately ruined it and made fishing impossible.
My dad also keeps honeybees, which I find fascinating; they don’t have any negative impacts because they’re sustaining themselves and pollinating all the flowers.
What are the successes you’re most proud of?
I won a prize for the Thomas Pink t-shirt competition! It was a project on the construction of London and the city, and I was responsible for designing the fabric and making the shirting material in only two months. I’m also proud of moving to London in general, it’s a city full of opportunity.
Why did you choose Liberty?
My degree covered a lot about (food) waste and sustainability, which made me reflect on the idea that bringing more design into a world that already has so much design and waste is unnecessary. I didn’t think that there needed to be another person doing that, so I decided to move to a sector dedicated to building a more sustainable future.
Liberty needed someone with a very methodical approach to problem solving; as a weaver, I’m very experimental and interested in exploring what’s possible with an open mind. I’m very good visually and artistically, which helps me with designing Asana boards. As I’ve learned to see the world through design, I’ve realised the importance of colour. If you make things beautiful, people will be more attracted to using them!
Liberty ultimately provided me an opportunity to work collaboratively as part of a growing team while also developing professionally and honing my managerial skills.
What are you currently working on?
Currently, I’m project managing the development of two new products, alongside the development of advanced control systems for the Future Farming Hub (FFH). I also deal with a lot of the maintenance required at the FFH facility in Dundee; this sometimes includes directing builders and contractors on where to enter the building remotely from London!
My work also includes quite a bit of accounting for Liberty and helping plan the events.
What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
I’ve really enjoyed learning about agriculture and AgriTech, organising Liberty’s projects and making them operational. It’s fantastic to be involved in the possibility of making sustainable agriculture and trying to make Vertical Farming more accessible.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I love DIY! I’ve been dabbling in interior design with a project for my flat, which includes buying cheap furniture and doing it up. Weaving and art is still one of my favourite hobbies too, and I want to start doing dress-making again as it’s a sustainable way of making clothes. I do charity shopping a lot and use my finds to make cushions as well as buying men’s jeans and making alterations to them.
Do you enjoy growing anything at home?
I have lots and lots of house plants — pretty much any house plant you can think of! l also like growing spring onions and avocados because they’re pretty easy to grow. In the summer, I’m planning to start growing more vegetables too.
What do you do for sustainability and the environment?
I’m trying to be as zero waste as possible by not using much packaging, being environmentally conscious and, of course, recycling.
Since working at Liberty, I’ve learned about how we can completely change the way we produce food through farming, both individually and systematically.