By Dana Shultz for DietsInReview.com | photo from Truck Farm Chicago
If kids won’t come to the farm, then the farm will come to them. And these days, that’s exactly what’s happening.
A literal food truck has been making its way around the windy city to teach kids about where food comes from and why it’s important. The group’s name is Truck Farm Chicago, and they’re a non-profit organization that launched on Earth Day.
The collaborative project is the brainchild of two organizations: sustainable development nonprofit Seven Generations Ahead; and eco-friendly book printer Green Sugar Press. Sugar Press co-founders were inspired to start the project after seeing ‘King Corn‘ director Ian Cheney construct a similar truck farm in his urban community of Brooklyn, New York.
Simply stated, the small, grassroots team is on a mission to educate their community about farming, health, and real food. As outlined on their website, Truck Farm Chicago works with local partners to deliver programming in the areas of gardening and cooking. The organization specifically seeks to:
- show how good, healthy food can be grown anywhere there’s sun, space and creativity;
- inspire youngsters to explore where food comes from and learn how our decisions affects our bodies and everything around us;
- empower young people to be active, grow food locally, cook, and eat healthily.
Truck Farm’s vehicle of choice is a 1994 Ford F-250, which the group has appropriately dubbed Petunia. In the bed lies a plethora of sprouting plants, including kale, chard, broccoli, radish and a variety of herbs. The greens all lie in a bed of rich soil and layer of landscape fabric to hold it all in place.
This complex system is carted around the city reaching thousands of young minds. Last year alone, the organization saw more than 2,700 children at 47 schools. Their goal for next year is to reach more than 3,000 children, and to strengthen programming opportunities, help schools start gardens, and spread the message about the importance of real, quality food.
These efforts are important, especially in Chicago where according to a study from the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, 35 percent of Illinois children age 10-17 are obese. Another recent study showed that Type-2 diabetes is on the rise in kids nationwide, which is likely a result of the ongoing obesity epidemic. In short, there’s definitely a problem when it comes to our children’s health.
But Truck Farm Chicago is doing its part to combat these alarming statistics and get American kids healthy again. Does this sound like an effort you’d like to get behind? If so, you’re in luck, as there’s plenty of opportunity to do so.
While you’d think the organization would have low overhead costs as their work is literally on wheels, it actually requires about $115 to cover the cost of making just one visit to a group of kids. For this reason, Truck Farm has created a Kickstarter page to raise funds for their mission. Supporters can visit that page to make donations toward the cause.