the irresistible fleet of bicycles

trade, commons, seedstock and revolutionary politics

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WEDNESDAY September 2nd
6pm- 8.30 pm
Boylston Hall 105 in Harvard Yard.
FREE and OPEN to the public
We hope you can join for this event presented by Greenhorns’ Maine Sail Freight  in collaboration with “Food Better” at Harvard University.

Join Brian Donahue, Marguerita Desy and John Forti for an evening panel and facilitated public discussion to bring these questions to the fore- ground. The Greenhorns’ Maine Sail Freight project, delivering Maine-grown cargo to Boston’s Long Wharf on August 30th prolongs our public- performance logistics with a series of public conversations. We’ll be at Boston Public Market the whole month of September, and over the winter will start back up with public programs in Maine.

The young farmers movement shares a bold vision, to rebuild a more regional, more sustainable, more resilient food economy. Individual farms and farmers are actors, but we know that coordinating across bigger distances and confronting the structural and economic barriers will require serious teamwork. Our boat-stunt, doing more than $70,000 in regional trade,  is intended to bring into the open some of these larger systems- coordination questions. We Greenhorns want to get guidance from our elders, and lessons from history about how trade evolves, and how systems evolve, and how we should be preparing ourselves for the work ahead.  This panel is mostly about the history of trade in this country, as a way to inform our approach to the re-design of trade-systems.

What are the opportunities, what are the core skills, what kinds of perspective should we bring into our decision making about scale, technology, control and cooperation? What does it take to trade more regionally? (by boat or by truck) What insights can we draw from the taxonomy of of enclosure, colonialism, expropriation and commodity capitalism that give us tactical advantage in creating an alternative?

As young farmers, we know the climate is changing– business climate too. How can historical literacy give us advantage in our opportunism, to build businesses where they will be needed. The historians in this panel know about our early maritime economy,  the beginnings of US militarism at sea, and the horticultural conquests and colonial economies that still shape our agrarian landscape. They know about enclosure of the commons, about radically shifting land- use, about indigenous and traditional forms agriculture of this country. They are a wealth of knowledge and we’d like you to bring some great questions forward.

Young farmers struggling to afford land, earn a decent living in a sector made nearly impossible by federal food, land use and immigration policy staying stubbornly positive about the future makes a big difference. We know that historical literacy is a critical platform for courage and stamina in these trying times. Let us face the work ahead emboldened by an elongated remembrance of history, geography and the epic ( and revolutionary ) events which brought us here today– the smuggling, breeding and adaptation of seeds, the non-tragedies and subaltern survival narratives of commoning past and present. The future is a long time.

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