Fleet of Truck Farms is on a roll!


The documentary Truck Farm, about a whacky Brooklynite growing vegetables in the back of his Dodge truck, is a fun look at urban agricultuture and a great teaching device for kids.  In addition to truck farms, the movie features such unusual veg-garden sites as barges, rooftops, and the atrium of a highrise. Check to see if there’s a screening near you.

I saw the movie at a screening to benefit D.C.’s Neighborhood Farm Initiative and found out that the Brooklyn truck farmer has inspired a whole fleet of them, including the one in the photo below.  How that happened starts with an article about the original truck farm in Landscape Architecture magazine, which got the attention of some activist-type students in Denver, who rallied nutrition educators and hunger reduction activists across the U.S.


Which led them to call the guys at the DC Central Kitchen. Joelle Johnson and Karli Hurlebaus (shown below with DCCK founder Robert Egger) promptly launched an online fund-raising campaign, which raised $4,600 and a donated truck from Goodwill.  And voila – a fully planted-out farm on wheels – with built-in vermiculture, too. Here’s a schematic of the truck and how it works.

Why a truck farm?IMG_3802

Because as a teaching tool, it’s way cooler than nutrition pyramids.  It gets attention – especially kids’ attention (not so easy to do).  This truck has visited over 40 youth programs (ages 5-18) over the last 6 weeks, providing meals and a one-hour show-and-tell around the truck.

Joell and Karli here run the whole shebang.  Though neither of them had a teaching background OR a gardening background, they  had enough enthusiasm to make it work.  The secret to their gardening success?  Starting with the square foot method, and winging it from there.

The USDA’s People’s Garden donated plants and supplies to the project, and all summer has been displaying the truck at their weekly farmer’s market on the National Mall.  I’m told it’s been quite the attention-getter with tourists and government workers alike.

On feeding the poor, and Begging for Change
Click here to read my blog story about Robert Egger’s “amazing journey from night clubs to soup kitchens.”  He’s pretty awesome.


  1. Uhm, what’s going to happen once the plants grow high enough to obstruct the view out of the back-cab, and what about wind damage?

  2. A total waste of time. What about the footprint of driving around this vehicle. The cost of operation vs the harvest value is definitely negative furthering the entitlement mentality. (we don’t have to make a profit we have to get a grant).

    Deliver instead raised bed kits to schools so the kids can actually get their hands dirty and build something instead of taking more tests. There is no inspiration when the truck leaves other than waiting for it to return. Let kids know that gardening involves very rewarding work instead of waiting for the truck to see how big the tomatoes are this week. I am afraid this moronic effort will only have children saying food comes from trucks instead of stores


    Why not instead a compost truck delivering compost for a fee (god forbid a profit)showing a more sustainable effort.


  3. Good advertising/educational tool for gardening. Now I know what to do with the blue mule(’95 F150) when she finally bites the dust.

  4. I could see this if the truck was a blister that was rusting away in the front yard. Put ‘er to good use and grow some vegetables!

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