Food on the move
Run on solar power and vegetable oil the Veggie Patch Van is bringing healthy food to you.
A collaboration between Sydney-based design studio TMOD and Surry Hills vegetarian restaurant Yulli’s, led to the creation of the Veggie Patch Van. With a mission to bring healthy vegetarian food to the masses, promote local growers and raise awareness of sustainable eating, a commission from the City of Sydney helped get the show on the road and the van now rolls around Sydney selling its tasty wares.
Housed in a converted green Winnebago, fondly referred to as ‘spud’, the Veggie Patch Van’s founders worked hard to overcame some tricky challenges and conceive a moveable dining experience that runs on solar power and vegetable oil.
“As it is new and we do not have a formula to replicate, we have had many difficulties in the construction of the van, however it has been a positive learning process that we have all enjoyed. Running on solar and vegetable oil, it’s not so much that it’s hard to do, but if we did it again we’d have a clearer plan in place before we started,” said Milenka Osen, co-founder of the van.
The Veggie Patch Van’s menu is seasonally driven and showcases the homegrown aesthetic of its founders. While it’s always evolving, the signature burger, chips and raw dish staples are always available. The team is also working on breakfast and brunch menus and offers sweets and locally brewed beverages.
“We’re devoted to using seasonal produce sourced from local growers. Our whole food philosophy extends on the ‘paddock-to-plate’ movement. We want to offer minimally processed, full-flavoured cuisine aimed at reconnecting growers with diners” explains Karl Kooney, Veggie Patch Van co-founder and Yulli’s owner.
So far, reception to the Veggie Patch Van has been very positive and the van has set up shop at events including the Better Homes & Gardens expo and the Taste of Sydney’s sustainable food section.
“We have had a great response from people and I think that is because the concept and food is different. It's fresh, healthy and without any unnecessary impact on our environment, so we hope this makes people feel good. It's a new eating experience,” said Milenka.
Other fun features of the van include a portable vertical organic herb plantation and hand crafted macramé pots that hang alongside the van. An array of roadside and junkyard materials including recycled fence pails and used stainless steel have helped in spud’s transformation.
Looking at the bigger picture of good health and what is important to achieve it, Milenka Olsen believes it’s all about regular exercise, drinking lots of water, keeping stress to a minimum and being happy. “As Michael Pollen says, ‘eat real food, not too much, mostly plants’,” shares Milenka.