|Times-Mirror Graphic/Kurt Samuel
Philomont resident Jessica Carr hopes to have her truck farm up and running summer 2014.|
A fully functional farm rolling down Route 7 in the bed of a truck is hardly an expected sight, but Philomont resident Jessica Carr hopes to make it a reality by next summer.
Truck Farm, a concept originally developed by environmental documentary filmmaker Ian Cheney, uses green roof technology to grow crops in the bed of a truck.
"It's a mobile classroom, so you drive around and teach about sustainability and sustainable agriculture," said Carr. "We reconnect kids with where their food comes from."
Carr started working on her own Truck Farm last summer, while she was researching urban sustainability. She came across the documentary "King Corn," made by Cheney. Intrigued by the film's environmental message, Carr began to look into other projects Cheney had worked on, eventually leading her to Truck Farm.
Once the idea had taken root, Carr started raising money to bring her version of the project to life. She outlined a budget of $15,000 to purchase the truck, farm materials, outreach materials and to complete engine modifications. To raise this money, she applied for grants and started a fundraiser using the website Kickstarter.
Her initial goal of $15,000 was not met and, in accordance with Kickstarter's all-or-nothing rule, she received none of the money that had been pledged – a frustrating setback.
"Raising money is always hard and getting people to follow through," Carr said. "It was a lot of convincing people that this is a good idea."
Carr started the fundraiser over, this time with a lower goal and successfully raised $6,000. At the same time, she received a grant that would match up to $7,500 of independently raised money.
Though $12,000 is below her initial goal, she believes it will be sufficient as long as she is financially savvy.
Currently, Carr is in the process of finding an affordable truck suitable for her purpose.
Though she is using Cheney's basic Truck Farm model, Carr plans to add some of her own modifications. The original Truck Farm runs on diesel fuel, but Carr will modify the engine to use vegetable oil. She hopes to use a rain barrel to water the plants and compost for fertilizer.
"I wanted it to reflect sustainability," Carr said.
In addition, she will use a wood and plexiglass frame, called a cold frame, to extend the growing season and protect the plants while she drives around. The frame will be transparent so it won't hinder the truck's visual draw.
At first, the Truck Farm will grow only a few herbs and vegetables – tomatoes, thyme, peppers, kale and lettuce are all possibilities.
"We can diversify once we figure out how much we can grow in the bed of the truck," Carr said.
A former member of Loudoun 4-H, Carr plans to feature the truck at some of the club's events. In addition, she wants to work with Girl Scout troops, summer camps and possibly farmers' markets.
The focus for the project is on education.
"The whole point is not that everyone should get a Truck Farm because that's not realistic or practical," Carr said. "Instead, it's to get people to think creatively about how food is grown and to think about new places that food could be grown."
Be the first to post a comment!