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This new food truck makes top-notch, plant-based food to-go

people lined up at an orange food truck. the truck has large, colorful graphics of plants like dill flowers, chard leaves, strawberries, etc.

The Planted food truck offers food to-go, but they have a "no single-use plastic" policy. The images on the truck were designed by Erin Tobey (Courtesy of Planted)

“Animal agriculture creates more greenhouse gas emissions than all transportation combined. Yet, as individuals we’re often told, ‘you should take public transportation and ride bikes,’ all of which are good things but not very frequently are we told, ‘let’s reduce our consumption of animal products, and that will have a tremendous impact on the environment.’"

This week on the show, Toby Foster talks with the creators of Planted, a local plant-based food truck and catering operation in Bloomington, Indiana. We learn about their inventive, plant-based menu and their commitment to sustainable practices.

We have an interview with Julie Guthman about the troubled strawberry industry and we wrap up the show with a recipe for pickled carrots.

roasted chickpeas on top of a white, creamy layer, on top of a layer of somethng yellow and sliced on top of a layer of pesto on top of a rustic bread. The dish is garnished with lemon zest and sage leaves.
The Magnolia features their signature "flat" (made with chickpea flour), pesto, Muddy Fork Bread, and a vegan cheese.

A lot has changed over the last few years about how we eat out, or perhaps more accurately, eat in. During the height of the pandemic, carryout food was the only option that a lot of people felt comfortable with, and it seems that the trend is here to stay, heightened by the prevalence of delivery apps such as DoorDash and UberEats. In Bloomington, Indiana, a food truck called Planted is trying to bring a new and thoughtful approach to carry out, putting added emphasis on sustainability with an all plant-based menu and avoiding single-use plastics. They opened to the public in September of 2023, and I wanted to talk to them about their mission and about how it’s been going so far. I was surprised when five members of their team walked into our interview meeting.

Nicole Schonemann., the self-described “instigator,” also owns a goat farm called the Goat Conspiracy. Until recently, they made goat milk cheeses and soaps, but lately Nicole has been moving away from animal products entirely. She describes her philosophy as “reducetarian,” meaning that by reducing the amount of meat and dairy products we consume, we can reduce our carbon footprints. This was a big part of her inspiration for the food truck. (Since recording this interview, the Goat Conspiracy has milked their last goat, and they have transitioned into a non-profit goat sanctuary/retirement home.

Nicole reached out to Erica Yochum, who previously owned and was the head chef for many years at Feast, a well-loved local restaurant, and after several iterations, an initial menu was agreed upon.

Planted serves food with a focus on seasonality and local produce. Their signature item is called a “flat.” It is an open-faced sandwich, served on locally made bread, followed by the chickpea flat, which is a patty made from a blend of chickpea flour and vegetables, and then topped with a variety of different toppings. A recent popular seller is the Magnolia, which has local squash, leeks that have been simmered in white wine, and a sage pesto. Desserts are also a big part of the menu, including coconut-based ice cream and a vegan marshmallow dreamed up by head chef Leah Wolfe. It’s made from aquafaba, which is the water leftover from cooking chickpeas! “I do find it really fun and a challenge to make everything plant-based,” says Leah of the process. She has also came up with several plant-based cheeses, which the team affectionately refers to as “Wolfe cheese.”

Cooper Gerard, Planted’s general manager, and Ben Wesenberg, the truck manager, rounded out the group, and handle more of the day-to-day operations. “The customer response has been really great,” Ben told me, “Not that that’s unexpected, because Erica and Leah make amazing food, and the truck is beautiful, so people want to stop and see what it is.” The team seemed to have great chemistry, and although they were a little nervous about some of the challenges that running a food truck through a long, cold winter might present, they were enthusiastic and proud of their product and their mission to promote sustainability through delicious food.

Music on this episode

The Earth Eats theme music is composed by Erin Tobey and performed by Erin and Matt Tobey.

Additional music on this episode from Universal Production Music.


The Earth Eats’ team includes: Eoban Binder, Alexis Carvajal, Alex Chambers, Mark Chilla, Toby Foster, Daniella Richardson, Samantha Shemenaur, Payton Whaley and Harvest Public Media.

Earth Eats is produced, engineered and edited by Kayte Young. Our executive producer is Eric Bolstridge.

Stories On This Episode

Kayte's favorite pickled carrots

small bowl with blue pattern filled with sliced carrots, onions and jalapenos

These are great on tacos, tostados, burritos or even on top of tortilla chips, as a snack.

Strawberry fields, maybe not forever

Deep red strawberries filling the frame

Julie Guthman talks with Earth Eats about her research on the present and possible futures of the California strawberry industry.

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