the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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maine asks trump to make sail freight a reality

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Or, well, almost. As you may remember, two summers ago, the Greenhorns loaded a schooner with 10 tons– $70,000 worth of cargo– and sailed it from Maine to Boston to sell at markets in the city. And then, the NEWSAG conference held a “FoodBarge Hack” lunch at their annual conference. The Portland Press Herald said of the project, “It’s art. It’s protest. It’s celebration. And, who knows? It may even be a practical way to get cargo to market.”

It looks like Maine’s Department of Transportation might actually agree. As BDN Maine reports, “The National Governor’s Association submitted its members’ wish lists to the Trump administration last week. The overall list isn’t being made public, but the Maine Department of Transportation is releasing its proposal: almost half a billion dollars for improving the state’s roads and bridges and to jump-start a project that would revive a long-dormant coastal barge route, from Maine to New York City.” They’re calling it the “New England Marine Highway.”

Though the Greenhorns would like to see a less fossil-fuel dependent model than tug-boat-pulled barges, we’re glad to see people thinking more creatively about viable ways to move goods from agricultural areas to regional markets. Put a sail on that barge— or, oh we don’t know, a solar panel, a hydrokinetic turbine, or some draft power— and we’re all for it!

Missed Maine Sail Freight, read more here!


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greenhorns releases: MANIFESTA!

We are so proud of this awesome collaboration. If you’ve been wondering how a maritime art stunt fits into the mission of an organization that supports farmers (I mean, talk about your landlubbers!), this publication is for you! Manifesta lays out the story, history, discourse, and activism behind the Maine Sail Freight project last summer! The un-monograph is a fun and galvanizing read, and we think it is going to make a real believer out of you!

This is a story about a group of young farmers staging a pageant-like protest about the terms of trade in our agricultural economy, and the nature of transportation and exchange within that model.

It’s an elaborate stunt, invoking colonial history and the maritime ex- traction economy of coastal Maine as a platform for discourse on a more regional, more prosperous, and more diverse food economy for the future.

We claim the ocean as an ally and a commons—a venue to imagine what a world where 60% of the retail price goes to the farmer, and view- point from which to watch the farmers of the region operate, and co-oper- ate to circulate wealth and add value. We raise a flag for food sovereignty on the mast of our sail boat.

We are not content to labor where 70% of the agricultural work is performed by those without citizenship. We are not content to operate
in a high-volume, low-value commodity extraction economy. We are not content to be silent while our nation negotiates yet more free trade agree- ments freeing only those at the top of the capitalist slag heap and chaining the rest of us to their terms.

This project is our retort!


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free webinar on collaborative trade and fair markets

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Yellow Seed, a nonprofit organization that facilitates connections between farmers and fair markets, recently partnered with Impact Hub Berkley, a social impact working hub out of the Bay Area, to host six curated working groups to focus on Collaborative Trade. The project was called From the Ground Up: Change Accelerator and aimed to “design healthy, global food supply chains where farmers are treated as equal partners and like-minded organizations work together to accelerate the shift towards sustainability.”

Small farmers, social justice groups, and some big names of the chocolate industry participated. (See the Yellow Seed blog for more detailed information!) To bring the sessions to a close, the groups are inviting anyone interested to take place in a webinar that will present the key findings of the working groups. The “welcome all curious minds, open hearts and everyone interested in learning about how we can revolutionize our global food supply chains together.”

Anyone interested has the choice of joining either of the two webinars:

Session A: Fri, Apr. 8, 2016 12:00PM – 1:30PM PDT

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/521009293
You can also dial in using your phone: United States +1 (312) 757-3121
Access Code: 521-009-293

Session B: Mon, Apr. 11, 2016 6:30pm – 8:00pm PDT
Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/413804301
You can also dial in using your phone: United States +1 (224) 501-3212
Access Code: 413-804-301


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maine history online: trade and transport

Future French Foreign Minister Charles de Talleyrand-Périgord journeyed to Maine a few years after the American Revolution scouting economic opportunities for his employers.

While he wasn’t overly impressed with some segments of Maine society –lumbermen and fishermen were particularly suspect –he was awed by its coasts, so favorable to shipping, and believed in its promise, as yet unrealized.

Hardly noticed by the rest of the country (even Massachusetts, according Talleyrand), Maine was nonetheless “destined by nature to play an important role in the American federation.”

Talleyrand explained further, “One can only auger well of a great province, which combines healthfulness and fertility, whose whole coast is one vast harbor of the sea, which is watered by rivers, lakes, ponds, creeks, and streams in abundance according to the most fortunate distribution.”

Maine’s location provided not just the raw materials necessary for scraping a living from the land, but also connected vast natural enterprises – fishing, quarrying, lumbering among others – to global markets via Maine-built ships of extraordinary design.

Click HERE to read more!


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foodbargehack: planning a new food waterway

Sunday March 13th at the 2016 Just Food Conference
New York City

The FoodBargeHack is a brainstorming and educational event sponsored by the Lower Hudson Long Island Resource Conservation & Development Council (LHLIRCD), bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders and passionate participants. We seek experts in transportation logistics, food distribution, agricultural product aggregation, food hubs, sustainable technologies and/or regional food systems.

Join us at the 2016 Just Food Conference on Sunday March 13th, where we will host two campaign action sessions with the goal of planting the seeds for a new food waterway.

Together, we will envision an energy efficient, sustainable regional food transportation system via our state’s waterways. We will focus on how to connect mid-sized upstate farmers with underserved NYC neighborhoods using a barge on the Hudson River, and challenge the status quo. With your help, we will achieve a viable alternative to food filled trucks on our roads.
Just Food is an incredible NYC based non-profit that supports community leaders to advocate for and increase access to healthy, locally-grown food, especially in underserved NYC neighborhoods. Every year, in addition to producing an expansive, educational and empowering food conference, Just Food connects a quarter million New Yorkers to fresh food in their neighborhood through its network of community food projects.


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What is it about the ruthless sea? An acculturation in agricultural landscapes, full of flower buds, dewdrops, fresh hay, kittens and baby lambs cannot prepare you for the hard, chilling mechanics of a mechanized fish harvest. To my tender agrarian eyes, the fishing business is brutal. We may call them “stewards of the ocean” but lets face it—they are killing fish.

-Severine on the Alaskan fishing commons in “A Farm Organizer Visits Fish Country: Part II,” for In These Times. Read the rest of the article here!


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sail freight projects abound! meet the new FoodBargeHack @ It Takes a Region

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We are SO HAPPY to see continued discussion of SAIL FREIGHT!

As you may remember, we’ve been obsessed since our first sail freight project in VERMONT a few years ago, and then again in with Maine Sail Freight this past August.

Like they said in the Portland Press Herald:

“It’s art. It’s protest. It’s celebration. And, who knows? It may even be a practical way to get cargo to market.”

AND NOW, inspired by Sail Freight and Farm Hack, there will be a FoodBarge Hack lunch Friday Nov. 13, at NEWSAG‘s It Takes a Region Conference. The event’s organizer’s write:

“Together, we will envision an energy efficient, sustainable regional food system using our waterways. We will focus on how to connect mid-sized upstate farmers with underserved NYC neighborhoods using a barge on the Hudson River, and challenge the status quo. With your help, we want take real steps towards a viable alternative to food filled trucks on our roads.”

Please note that you must be attending the conference and should RSVP to Jill Slater in advance if you would like lunch.


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bring your body! show up for fisher people, the ocean commons, and the health of the gulf of Maine, sept. 30, plymouth, ma

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Family fishermen and supporters are inviting ally networks to join them and call on Congress, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, and the New England Fisheries Council to stop the corporate takeover and privatization of the ocean and fisheries, to protect the democratic process and to restore the health of the marine ecosystem. 
Bring your body and spirit and turn out for an action starting at 12 p.m. Wednesday September 30 at the Radisson Hotel in Plymouth, MA. The New England Fisheries Management Council will be holding a meeting at this time, and FLC, NAMA, fishermen, supporters, and allies (you! me!) will make it clear to them that we support local fisherman and are determined to protect our oceans. 
Your support in the past — through written testimony or signing petitions — has brought unprecedented diversity of public input to the policies being considered by the New England Fishery Management Council. You have also helped create safe space for fishermen who have felt alone and often harassed for speaking out to actually stand up and be heard.
Whether you eat local seafood, support family food producers/local living economies/healthy oceans/our public commons/the public process, or simply want to keep those in power accountable, this is a fight that affects us all.

To RSVP for this action, email brett@namanet.org. And, for more information or with questions, contact Shira (shira@namanet.org) or Brett (brett@namanet.org).


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we’re featured in this beautiful magazine

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But we don’t think that we’re the only reason that you should pre-order it. The cover (like a good cover should) speaks for itself: ffreelancing co-ops, abandoning the perpetual growth model, and a fascinating look at the potential of abandoned villages in Southern Europe and the diverse communities they might encompass.

STIR Magazine is a “quarterly print magazine that features articles and interviews on the international co-operative movement, the emergence of the commons and collaborative networks, and other community-orientated alternatives in technology, agriculture, food, sports, energy, education and other important aspects of our lives.”