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'Truck Farm' documents mobile garden

'Truck Farm' documents mobile garden
The term "locavore" gets serious when one filmmaker builds a garden into the back of his 1986 Dodge pickup truck. Organic Connections, the magazine for Natural Vitality finds out what happens when a Dodge learns new tricks.

What do crepes, tacos, coffee, kebabs, and local farms have in common? They are among the newest crop of New York City food trucks that have sprouted in the past several years—evidence of the growing urban agriculture trend.

The recent short documentary Truck Farm from filmmaker Ian Cheney, offers a quirky and fun depiction outlining the old 1986 Dodge pickup truck he converted into a mobile garden. “I had a strong urge to grow something other than corn and didn’t have any place to do it in the big city,” Cheney explains in an interview with Organic Connections magazine. “So I took a good long look at the old pickup truck that my grandfather had given me when I finished college and decided to give it a shot. From that very simple desire to grow a bit of my own food emerged this film and education project called Truck Farm.”

How does the garden work? A six-inch topping of nutrient-rich soil, root barrier, erosion blanket, drainage mat, Styrofoam, gel, and clay comprise the system to ensure proper drainage for the fledgling arugula, basil, parsley, tomatoes, lavender, peppers, and sweet peas planted there. In the film, notable food dignitaries such as Marion Nestle and Chef Dan Barber are depicted praising the project’s mission; and applauding it's efforts. 

But while Truck Farm is certainly an inspiring film, the growing movement surrounding it is perhaps the most rousing aspect. According to the Truck Farm website, 25 flatbed gardens exist across the country, with an increasing enthusiasm. Cheney continues, “We’ve had kids planting gardens in unusual little places as part of our Truck Farm Garden Contest, as a way to get kids thinking about what it takes to grow food and what goes into growing food.”

Indeed, Truck Farm is not only a motivational film to expand the notion of where food can grow, but also a call for creativity, innovation, and community development.

Read more in Organic Connections.

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