“How do you grow your own food in the big city if you ain’t got no land?” Easy – do what these Brooklynites did and start a Truck Farm! True, you don’t usually think “1986 Dodge Ram when you think “green vehicle“, but this pickup with ripe rows of arugula, lettuce, broccoli, herbs, tomatoes and habaneros thriving right in its flatbed, is definitely an exception. To make matters even more awesome, “four-wheel farmer” Ian Cheney and his partner Curt Ellis of Wicked Delicate, have even been documenting their automofarm in a series of musical, lyric-accompanied, video shorts (“The recession was upon me, my health was slipping away. I decided what I needed, was more vegetables everyday.”) resulting in both hilarity and a cult-like following as they spread love (and broccoli) around New York City.
Getting Truck Farm started wasn’t quite as easy as just dumping a bunch of dirt into the bed of a truck and tossing some seeds in. As Cheney illustrates in Episode 1 of the series, holes had to be drilled into the bed for drainage (“I kinda hope I’m not drilling into the gas tank,” he muses). Alive Structures, an NYC-based company that specializes in rainwater management lent a hand with a root barrier, erosion blanket, drainage mat and cups which are usually reserved for green roofs. Last, but not least, the soil that lies in Truck Farm’s bed is not just regular dirt – it is a special lightweight blend of styrofoam (talk about a cool way to recycle polystyrene!), gel, organics, and clay.
So what happens to the veggies that grow on/in Truck Farm? Believe it or not, the Truck Farm has its very own CSA plan. “For only 20 bucks, you can eat whatever grows in this truck” croons The Fishermen Three, in Episode 2. A truck that drives your veggies to customers to pluck straight out of the soil with their own hands? You have to admit that’s quite a bit fresher than Fresh Direct.
Okay, we know what you’re thinking – a truck with a farm in its backseat still guzzles gas. This is one aspect of the Truck Farm that was plaguing us too. But the guys from Wicked Delicate seem like they take great care in making sure the logistics behind their project are sustainable (heck, even the camera they use is solar-powered) that we think there must be an explanation. Perhaps they don’t actually drive the truck around that much? Although it is certainly worth considering how the vehicle itself could be made greener, we think it’s important to focus on what Truck Farm represents – a new, improved way of thinking about how we get our food in the concrete jungle. Keep on truckin’/farmin’!!!
Via Tasting Table