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How to start a truck farm

(Photo Credit: Truck Farm)

(Photo Credit: Truck Farm)

In 2009, filmmaker Ian Cheney (King Corn) decided to try planting his own garden.

But where to do it? He lived in Brooklyn, didn’t own any land, and couldn’t get a place in a community garden. He decided to use the back of his 1986 Dodge pickup truck, given to him by his grandfather as a college graduation gift.

Using the same principles involved in building a green roof, Cheney put his truck farm together for a few hundred bucks (the most expensive equipment is the truck itself) and set out to make a film about it, and also about other inventive growing schemes in and around New York. In the film he visits a vertical window farm, a rooftop farm and a sustainable floating barge. The film makes for light viewing, punctuated with whimsical (if slightly irritating) songs in place of a voiceover.

Cheney wants to spread the word about truck farming, and has created a downloadable farmer toolkit, as well as a how-to video for anyone interested in replicating the idea.

To make a truck farm, all it takes is:

  • a root barrier
  • a drainage mat and erosion blanket
  • lightweight subsoil
  • compost and/or topsoil
  • seeds
  • water
  • sunlight

Download the toolkit here.

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