Truck Farm Chicago

Note: in 2014 we shut down the Truck Farm project.

The reality is undeniable: We’re bigger than we used to be. And the epidemic of chronic related diet diseases lowers the quality of our lives. Increasingly, it’s a really expensive problem.

So we took an old truck (with 330,000 miles), planted forty fruits, veggies & herbs in the bed and visited schools. We used our farm-on-wheels as a prop to connect kids to food and health. For three years, we entertained and enlightened thousands of students across Chicagoland. The kids may have had more fun than us, but it’s likely we learned more.

Young scientists exploring

Young scientists exploring

We thought we knew the answers: it’s about getting kids to make better choices. As it turned out, we walked away with questions that have no easy answers: Who decides what the choices are? Why are Fast Food and Flaming Hots the de facto choices and why does the government support a few companies that produce products that harm our health?

Rather than pigeon-holing these neighborhoods as ‘food deserts’ (because they lack access to fresh fruit & veggies), the more appropriate label may be ‘real job deserts.’ We moved from farms to cities for jobs. So what happened to the jobs?

We peeked backwards in time, and discovered that our food system is determined largely by things we normally don’t associate with food, e.g. trade policy, energy policy, anti-trust enforcement, environmental policy, the defense budget. It’s once we look broader and begin to understand the connections that we see there may be far more effective ways to improve our health than by telling kids to make better choices.

Rather than try to play the game a little better, we want to be part of the movement that changes the game and creates a system that works.

Talking Food, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2014

Original website: Truck Farm Chicago