Sol Food Mobile Farm: Leading the Food Justice Movement to your Backyard

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By Molly Redfield

The crew of Sol Mobile Farm is bringing new meaning to the term “food movement.” In June 2012, the team of four started on a sixth month trip. They would travel, they decided, from North Carolina, up the East Coast, over to the West Coast, down to the South, and then back again in a 57 passenger red school bus. Along this distance, which covers over 11,000 kilometers, the crew would stop at farmers markets, schools, and community centers in order to spread knowledge about sustainable living and the possibility of locally sourced food systems.

The greenhouse in the back of this retrofitted bus provides an innovative classroom for children of all ages. (Photo credit: Sol Food Mobile Farm)

Equipped with peel-and-stick solar panels, a green roof, a vermicomposting system, a mobile green house, waste-water collection tanks, and residential quarters constructed out of recycled materials, the bus is a microcosm of sustainable living. Most intriguingly, it has been retrofitted to run off of waste vegetable oil. This means that the Sol Food Mobile Farm crew can live and work out of the bus as they travel to communities across the United States advocating for local food systems and renewable energy sources. The Sol Mobile Farm crew states, “We aim to serve communities in their own backyards!  By recognizing that every community has a unique set of resources and skills, we hope to provide a meaningful gardening experience for the sites we visit.”

Sol Food Mobile Farm plans to host 5-day gardening workshops in at least 10 major cities across the country. At these workshops, the crew will work with groups of local youth to construct up to 8 raised garden beds. Honing in on major cities and their food desert neighborhoods, Sol Food Mobile Farm hopes to connect kids to their food and community. Additionally, by offering hands-on gardening experience through their workshops and demonstrations, the crew wants to leave a fresh wave of young environmental stewards in their wake.

Beyond providing lessons on garden site planning, composting, plant life cycles, sustainable gardening practices, and alternative energies, the crew at Sol Food Mobile Farms will teach kids across the country about the importance of nutrition and maintaining a healthy, active outdoor lifestyle. Furthermore, Sol Food Mobile Farm hopes to use the gardens to help connect cities. At every garden location, each group of new young farmers will not only plant the starters for the next garden, but also send drawings, letters, and well wishes along with their seedlings.

The crew of Sol Food Mobile Farm is committed to showing communities the possibilities for sustainable living and local food systems. With little more than a school bus and heaps of raw ambition, they are leading the food movement on wheels and are sure to impact numerous communities across the US.

You too can be involved with the traveling Sol Food Mobile Farm bus by following the crew’s blog, writing them an email at solfoodmobilefarm@gmail.com, and coordinating future workshops or expos in your community. You can also help support their traveling expenses by donating here.

Molly Redfield is a research intern with the Nourishing the Planet project.

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE.

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