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'Moo-vable Barn' City Farming Summer Program

Take a cue from the food-truck craze and create ‘Moo-vable Barn' Trucks. These barn trucks will not only service multi-lot urban farm projects for kids but will also draw attention and build interest in this fun program aimed at educating city kids about growing great vegetables and eating healthy food.

Photo of Demian Repucci
6 26

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A Summer farming program for urban kids could promote itself and create brand awareness by utilizing a fleet of ‘Barn trucks’. Like the highly graphic food trucks that have been popping up in US cities, these ‘Moo-vable Barns’ could be a fun eye-catching way for kids to get excited about being involved with agriculture. Each truck could transport a teacher and a team of kids to the many urban farm plots growing in reclaimed vacant lots around the city. The barn trucks would be equipped with all the tools and supplies necessary for tending the farm plots as well as snacks, water and food for the kids. It could also have an RV-style bathroom. Everything the kids need for a day of mobile farming. The trucks could also serve as the program’s produce stand at the farmer’s market when it is time to sell their harvest. ‘Moo-vable Barn’ trucks could be a fun and very visible way for kids to become engaged in learning about all the delicious fruits and vegetables locally available to them.

Age of kids. The solutions to changing kids’ eating behaviors will vary depending on their age. What works for a toddler won’t necessarily fly for a teenager, although we suspect some concepts might be appropriate for all ages—even adults! Which age bracket does your concept address (tick all relevant boxes)?

  • Middle school (Tweens) 11-13
  • High school (Teens) 14 -18

Hurdles to success. Helping kids make smarter food choices comes with a variety of hurdles that have to be addressed in order for a design solution to be successful, which of these do you think that your Concept overcomes (tick all relevant boxes)?

  • Peer Pressure
  • Lack of Knowledge

Evaluation results

6 evaluations so far

1. Food Knowledge - To what extent is this concept teaching people about food knowledge?

It's teaching people a great deal about food knowledge - 57.1%

It's teaching people a moderate deal about food knowledge - 28.6%

It's teaching people a little about food knowledge - 14.3%

It's not focused on food knowledge - 0%

2. Cooking - Is this concept focused on getting people to cook?

It's all about getting people to cook - 14.3%

It's moderately about getting people to cook - 42.9%

It's getting people to cook a little - 14.3%

It's not focused on cooking at all - 28.6%

3. Originality - How original is this idea?

This idea is extremely original - 28.6%

This idea is somewhat original - 57.1%

This idea has some originality about it - 14.3%

I have seen this idea before - 0%

4. Scalability - How scalable is this idea across communities and geographies?

This idea can be scaled across many communities and places - 28.6%

This idea can be scaled but needs some work - 14.3%

This idea will take a fair bit of work to scale - 57.1%

This idea cannot scale at all - 0%

6 comments

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Photo of Demian Repucci

Stephen, Thanks very much for your kind comment! Great idea to incorporate Farmer's Market farmers into the program. Not only could they stop by some of the urban plots that the kids are tending and give lessons and helpful pointers on cultivation, but day-long field trips could be scheduled to take the kids in the program out to the country to visit the farmers on their farms. They could tour the operations and hear the farmers describe how they care for all of their produce. As you mentioned, connecting the kids to actual farmers is very important. When they see the care and effort that goes into cultivating their vegetables, I would bet that kids would better be able to see produce as valuable and treat it with more attention and respect. This would also be a great way for kids to draw a conceptual line from the food on their plate back to its source.
I think you are right in getting the kids to see and interact with young, hip farmers. Showing them someone that they could identify with and relate to would probably help to make the job of growing food for people more real to them and, therefore, more interesting.
Thanks again for the comment! I really appreciate it!

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

I love this idea. I think putting kids in direct contact with food, farms, and farmers is critical to expanding how they thing about what they eat. Check out the American Center for Sustainability. In the Spring 2010 issue of Edible Portland, the cover story was about the Center's mobile seedling program. They converted an old public transit bus into a mobile greenhouse to deliver seedlings to urban pea-patch farmers. The bus itself is very cool - even the front bumper was turned into a garden space.

I suggest adding options for Farmers Market participants to be volunteers in the program. In addition to the food, connecting kids to the farmers is key. Using farmers as educators in this model would be a powerful addition. In the Pac NW, many of the farmers are young hip families themselves - something kids and families can easily relate to.

Thanks for the great idea here. It's my favorite and, thus far, the only one that's inspired a comment. Cheers! - Stephen

Photo of Demian Repucci

Thanks for the comments! Eddie, I like the idea of using trucks to bring the farm to the kids. I think there was an early inspiration about that... I'll have to go back and look... but that could definitely be an aspect of this concept. Actually, maybe the trucks could not only be the 'barn' but also a 'greenhouse'. Maybe the flat roof of the truck could be fitted with modular plexi-glass 'greenhouse' boxes. The clear boxes could hold seedlings to be planted at various lots, herbs to bring to classes for cooking demonstrations, lettuces, etc. The boxes could then be taken off of the roof and lowered to street level to give kids access to them. In tight urban environments utilizing every sun-touched surface, even the truck roof, to grow vegetables and herbs, is vital!
Also, as you mentioned, taking advantage of warehouses could work too. Maybe big roof gardens could be constructed that groups of kids could be taken to. These permanent 'farming centers' could also have things that vacant lot gardens couldn't, like chickens for eggs. Great stuff! Thanks again for the comments!

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Haha! This could be lots of fun! You could event turn it on it's head and have trucks bring the farm to the kids - where you could have compact hydroponics boxes for the children to work on, and to water and tend to. Thinking about it again, what about all those empty warehouses in cities? What about converting some of those to community gardens that the Moo-vable barn could take them too. You wouldn't necessarily need much space, and if they are unoccupied, the got to some good use.

Photo of Meena Kadri

Love this idea! Mobile + motivational and also enhances community resilience.