The terminology "truck farm"

  • #1
Stephen Tashi
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USA high school textbooks of the 1960's used the terminology "truck farms" to describe economic activity in parts of country. I gather the terminology is still used. Is it used in other English speaking countries?

I visualize a "truck farm" as small farming operation where the owner grows vegetables and takes them to market in a pick-up truck. That's stereotype fits situations in the USA, so I can see how the terminology originated, even if the stereotype isn't the technical definition.
 

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  • #4
Stephen Tashi
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It's a small farm where vegetables are grown for the local market. It's use precedes the invention of the everyday pickup truck.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/truck farm

Truck itself can also mean to barter commodities instead of our meaning of truck as a noun for a pickup truck.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/truck

I think Merriam-Webster is a USA company. They may heed what goes on in British English too. My question is whether an educated person in, say, India or New Zealand would use the terminology.
 
  • #5
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Its hard to say with India although both India, Australia and New Zealand do speak English aligned with British English and the Oxford dictionary.

However, slang supercedes any dictionary and it may have evolved to mean something entirely different.

I did see where in New Zealand there are people called housetruckers who basically convert a truck into a house for living:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Housetrucker

and truck farm on wikipedia redirects to market garden:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_garden
 
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  • #6
wukunlin
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I think Merriam-Webster is a USA company. They may heed what goes on in British English too. My question is whether an educated person in, say, India or New Zealand would use the terminology.
Never heard the term in my 15 years living in NZ. Could guess the meaning though.
 
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  • #7
pbuk
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I have never heard this term in the UK, I suspect it is not used in the Indian subcontinent either.

A small hand operated or horse-drawn vehicle for carrying produce is called a cart in England, and a larger vehicle a wagon. I think local terms are used elsewhere.

Merriam Webster is useless outside North America, Collins is better but you really need an edition of the Oxford Dictionary (Concise or Shorter, or even the OED itself) for British English. These are not available for free.
 
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  • #8
pbuk
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Truck itself can also mean to barter commodities instead of our meaning of truck as a noun for a pickup truck.
I suspect this is the true origin of 'truck farm' in the US, and although the word is not commonly used today in this sense in England there is the phrase 'I would have no truck with that' (meaning I would have nothing to do with that), and also the 'Truck Acts' which made it illegal to pay workers in tokens which could be exchanged for goods.
 
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  • #11
pbuk
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A truck is also the ball on the top of a flagpole. -- https://www.funtrivia.com/askft/Question98602.html
No, the truck is the bearing that sits underneath the ball. The word is used to describe many similar load bearing items, often running on some kind of track.

I am home later today with access to my COD.
 
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  • #14
pbuk
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Two entries for 'truck' in the Concise Oxford English Dictionery, the first related to vehicles for carrying goods, the second related to trade and barter. The third item in the second entry: "Chiefly US, market garden products especially vegetables". No entry for 'truck farm'. This puts @jedishrfu's post #2 spot on.
 
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  • #15
pbuk
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You really need an edition of the Oxford Dictionary (Concise or Shorter, or even the OED itself) for British English. These are not available for free.
How wrong can I be?
  • Google’s English dictionary is provided by Oxford Languages and can be accessed simply by typing e.g. "define truck" in a google search form - the result is exactly the same as in my . "define truck farm" returns no hits in the dictionary.
  • Lexico offers a free search in "UK English" or "US English" (as well as Spanish) where again the UK English entry matches the COD exactly, and even better Lexico encourages citation e.g. a truck is a large, heavy road vehicle used for carrying goods, materials, or troops[1].
[1] Oxford University Press (2020 Truck. In: Lexico.com, Available at: https://www.lexico.com/definition/truck [Accessed 12 October 2020].
 
  • #16
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I suspect this is the true origin of 'truck farm' in the US, and although the word is not commonly used today in this sense in England there is the phrase 'I would have no truck with that' (meaning I would have nothing to do with that), and also the 'Truck Acts' which made it illegal to pay workers in tokens which could be exchanged for goods.

Hence the famous Adam Smith quote, which was not referring to F150s

This division of labour, from which so many advantages are derived, is not originally the effect of any human wisdom, which foresees and intends that general opulence to which it gives occasion. It is the necessary, though very slow and gradual consequence of a certain propensity in human nature which has in view no such extensive utility; the propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another. (Wealth of Nations, 1776)
 

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