Ford F-150 Mobile Farm Provides Detroit-area with Fresh Produce
Ford employees use innovation and the amazing power of an F-150 to fight hunger and expand education in communities.
The Ford Motor Company Fund launched a new mobility program that will expand year-round indoor gardening in Detroit and provide an educational platform to teach local youth about nutrition and farming.
Collaborating with the non-profit organization Cass Community Social Services, the Ford Mobile Farm will provide an ongoing food source to Detroit residents through a hydroponic garden inside a 40-foot shipping container. A Ford F-150 pickup truck with a garden in the bed will visit local schools to teach healthy eating habits and provide hands-on learning activities.
“I’m proud of the work our employees are doing to develop programs that address some of today’s most pressing societal issues,” says Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford. “The Ford Mobile Farm project is the latest example of how they are finding ways to not only give back to the local community but also create a platform to educate future generations and make a lasting, positive impact.”
In 2017, Ford employees were challenged with improving Ford Mobile Food Pantries, a food distribution program launched in 2008 to address increasing hunger needs across Detroit. Participants toyed with the idea of creating a farm in the bed of an F-150, which led to growing vegetables inside a 40-foot shipping container.
The team presented the idea to the company and won $250,000 in funding from the Bill Ford Better World Challenge, a grant program funded by Ford to provide support for employee ideas capable of transformational change. The grant will help purchase and outfit the freight farm, hire staff to oversee the farm, support the educational arm of the program, and prepare an F-150 for school visits.
Later this spring, the F-150 will begin travelling to Detroit-area schools where students will learn about growing vegetables from seed, nurturing plants to grow, harvesting food and good nutrition. The children will put plants in the soil, harvest vegetables and taste the produce. Organizers expect to reach 2,250 students this year with the Mobile Farm’s F-150 site visits.