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Wheeled farm: product oasis in Baltimore deserts

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The north-eastern part of Baltimore is a place for which access to fresh vegetables and fruits is practically blocked. Students of the Design Centre in Maryland invented a mobile “food truck”, delivering food to the most arid areas.

Food Deserts are problem remote from supermarkets and food markets areas with a high poverty threshold of residents. Accordingly, not every family has a car, by which one can go for groceries. Therefore, the Healthy Food Availability index is very, very low.

The neighbourhoods of Clifton Park in north-eastern Baltimore are just such areas. In order to provide the Baltimore neighbourhood with food, the Real Food Farm was established, an innovative agricultural enterprise created by a civil initiative that grows fresh vegetables and fruits on 8 acres of land and delivers crops to people. The farm located at the very heart of Clifton Park has a wide range of manufacturing opportunities. In addition to vegetables and fruits, field crops, medicinal herbs are grown here, besides, beekeepers are engaged here.

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According to the information on the project website, Real Food Farm aims to prove that absolutely everyone has the right to healthy food, that a local environmentally friendly harvest is much more valuable than expensive imports, that there are worthy eco-friendly alternatives to traditional agriculture and that it is quite possible for them to raise the Baltimore economy and agriculture.

To help the farm achieve its goals and increase the number of supplies, the students of the Design Centre led by director Mike Weikert in Maryland developed a strategy in accordance with which a mobile food truck was created. The crop is grown right on the road! Composting, crop rotation during cultivation, special irrigation technologies that reduce the number of wastes in the Chesapeake Bay are used for this. The students received a grant for their ideas manifestation. As a result, they got an unusual truck in the style of the Washington Post newspaper with pull-out racks and shelves for food storage.

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Now throughout the season, the truck makes scheduled trips to designated locations and food-needy areas. The mobile truck also supplies farmers’ markets, and even private homes with fresh vegetables and fruits. Not so long ago, supplies of crops to local schools were set up to help children learn about healthy nutrition and taste it.

Real Food Farm also performs an educational function, conducting excursions around the farm for schoolchildren. In addition, on the basis of the project, the so-called Farm Club is organized for primary and secondary school students. To provide with summer amusement and an interesting pastime, Mission program is created, which attracts schoolchildren to farming work. And teachers who want to expand their knowledge in the field of ecology can join the Farm Lab, which trains specialists who have firsthand knowledge of what healthy food and farming are, and how these concepts are related to each other.

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