November 1, 2011
By Rachel Perez, RD
Somewhere on the streets of Brooklyn, New York, a tiny farm-on-wheels is growing in the back of a 1986 Dodge pick-up truck. Filmmaker Ian Cheney planted his truck farm in 2009 after moving to New York City and realizing there was no space to grow food.
The 1/1000th acre farm started as an experiment, using rooftop farming irrigation techniques to grow a variety of plants including parsley, broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, and basil. The miniature yield is not enough to support large-scale consumption; however, the truck farm serves as a portable educational tool for urban students and a tribute to edible innovation.
In just two years, the original project has expanded into 25 mobile truck farms across the country. Each truck in this “Truck Farm Fleet” is unique, but together this moving force is teaching people that growing food can be fun, easy, and rewarding-despite a scarcity of land.
This spring, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, co-producers of the popular film King Corn, released Truck Farm, a whimsical 50-minute documentary about their urban farming experiment. The film marks each development, from explaining the challenges of irrigating a truck-bed, to weighing in its first small harvest.
Cheney remarks, “[Truck Farm] represents the wild world of urban agriculture as told through the journey of a 1986 Dodge pickup that has been transformed into a rolling garden.” I saw the film and admired the sturdy Dodge pick-up truck at the recent 5th annual NYC Food Film Festival, which featured Truck Farm in the “Farm to Film to Table” closing event.
Watch the Truck Farm trailer here!
10 Food Documentaries Worth Viewing
From farmers to fisherman, agronomists to biologists, these food films provide plenty to discuss and chew on. View them at the following websites, or try reserving them at your local library.
1. The Garden (2008) -A Los Angeles garden changes a community in this Oscar-nominated film.
2. King Corn (2007) – Two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation.
3. Our Daily Bread (2005) – Austrian filmmaker views the European industrial food production from field to factory.
4. As We Sow (2005) – Documents the stories of survival and failure in the rural heartland of central Iowa plains.
5. Vanishing of the Bees (2009) – Investigative look at the economic, political and ecological implications of the worldwide disappearance of the honeybee.
6. Vegucated (2011) – Follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks.
7. Forks Over Knives (2011) – Should we embrace vegetarianism and reject our present menu of animal-based foods?
8. Fresh (2009) – Fresh food, fresh ideas. New thinking about what we’re eating.
9. We Feed the World (2005) – Austrian filmmaker Erwin Wagenhofer traces the origins of the food in France, Spain, Romania, Switzerland, Brazil, and back to Austria.
10. Future of Food (2004) – The unappetizing truth about genetically modified foods.
*Image source: http://truck-farm.com/
What are your favorite food films? What can you add to the list?
Rachel Perez wants to savor her last semester as a dual Nutrition Communications/Tufts Dietetic Intern, MS student. She is a Registered Dietitian, enjoys writing, and likes to tinker in the kitchen. She documents her musings at Coconut Crumbs blog.