When filmmaker, Ian Cheney moved to New York City after making King Corn, a film about growing an acre of America’s most subsidized commodity crop, he wanted to grow something a little different. After all, he’d seen firsthand the problems associated with growing a crop like yellow dent #2 corn — the raw material for high fructose corn syrup, countless processed foods, and confined animal feeding operations. With America reeling from epidemics of obesity and diabetes, it was high time to try planting a garden of one’s own.
But where to do it? He didn’t own any land, all the community gardens were full, and the asphalt seemed to stretch on forever. Taking a good long look at the 1986 Dodge his grandfather Fayette Rumsey Plumb II had given him upon college graduation, Ian decided to give truck farming a whirl.
Called “the coolest urban agriculture project around” by The Huffington Post, it engages young people in thinking about where food comes from, gets them excited about growing food themselves, and teaches them that healthy food can be fun.
Truck Farm was born in Brooklyn, NY in the spring of 2009, when Ian Cheney planted a 1/1000-acre vegetable garden in the bed of his grandfather’s 1986 Dodge pick-up truck. The mobile garden project soon grew: Ian and collaborator Curt Ellis (both Peabody-winning co-creators of the documentary film “King Corn”) turned Truck Farm into a 20-member CSA and took the public art project on the road, exhibiting at 40 schools and on the National Mall in DC. Ian and Curt’s talks and advocacy efforts, profiled on NPR, MSNBC in The Atlantic and The Washington Post, promoted equitable access to healthy food and encouraged kids to grow their own vegetables.
The capstone of the project is the 50-minute Truck Farm documentary about urban farming, which premiered at the 2011 Wild & Scenic Film Festival. The film, with musical narration, whimsical animation, and the spirit of a kids’ movie even grown-ups can love, follows Ian, Curt, and the Brooklyn Truck Farm on a journey to meet New York’s urban farmer pioneers.
In 2010, Wicked Delicate Films began fielding requests from individuals who saw the film and wanted to start their own Truck Farms to spread the word about urban agriculture in their communities. In winter 2010, Wicked Delicate Films and its fiscal sponsor–the Sustainable Markets Foundation– started to formalize what would become the Truck Farm Fleet.
Tampa is now the newest member of the Truck Farm Fleet. Read about how this project got started in Tampa!