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The Truck Farm Hits the Road

What’s the best way to teach kids about farming when you’re nowhere near a farm? How about bringing a farm to the kids?

Our two mobile Truck Farms visited students at two elementary schools in Southeast D.C. on our annual Strawberries & Salad Greens Day on June 5. In addition to more traditional school food activities like cutting, washing, and consuming produce, some lucky kindergarteners were able to literally see and taste where some of their food was grown.

Kindergarten student learning to identify plants within the DCCK truck farm.

The pupils were given a lesson in why certain herbs are planted near certain fruits and were able to notice the different smells of the herbs, vegetables, and flowers. The kids also used their sense of touch for a hands-on experience. The best question came from one curious kid, asking something most everyone wants to know when they see our Truck Farms, “You can eat it?”

Yes, you eat the herbs we grow in our mobile Truck Farm. Each child was given the opportunity to pull their own cilantro leaf and, if they were willing, eat it. Most every kid gave a teeny, tiny bit of cilantro a chance. Some gave us a yuck face, quite common when it comes to a herb that some people think tastes like soap, but some actually liked their little green leaf!

Two kindergarten students with a DCCK staff member tasting fresh cilantro from the truck farm.

Our Truck Farms travel to more places than elementary schools. While you may have waved at some DC Central Kitchen folks at the Capital Pride Parade on June 8, we also had a presence at the Pride Family Zone. Just like at last year’s Pride, we made sure kids had a chance to enjoy a healthy snack while seeing how a farm, a very, very tiny farm, works.

While kids love our Truck Farms, adults do too. We brought it out to the June 14 USDA Farmers Market on the corner of Independence Ave. and 14th St. NW. Our Healthy Corners team participated in the USDA’s weekly farmers marker VegU class, leading a receptive audience, which included Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Xochitl Torres Small and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) on a very tasty way to utilize blackberries. If you’d like to borrow some inspiration and whip up a seasonally appropriate dessert featuring blackberries, we’ve included the recipe below.

Throughout the summer you’ll see our mobile Truck Farm throughout the city. Sometimes we’ll be educating kids on how gardens grow, sometimes we’ll be showing adults a useful way to utilize produce and sometimes we’ll just be getting you to think about turning your pickup truck into a greener vehicle.