No secret that we can’t be exactly unbiased talking about the latest Our Land episode, but as a blogger who has essentially no film-making skills and had no part in the making of this video, I have to say that it’s kind of the bomb-diggity. Episode Six, “Building a Regional Food System,” which follows the Cook family of Maine. The Cooks are responsible for the first large organic potato operation in Aroostiuck County, the phenomenally innovative and inspiring Crown of Maine Co-op, and Northern Girl— a value added processing plant that provides rural farmers with access to institutional buyers across New England. The story and its footage is as poignant and hopeful as you’d like to start off your day, but the video goes so far beyond your typical feel-good foodie youtube piece and into the nitty-gritty challenges of what it actually takes to create resilient regional food systems.
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!
THIS MONTH! The GREENHORNS’ MAINE SAIL FREIGHT will sail 11 tons of Maine-grown cargo from Maine to Boston aboard the beloved 131 foot traditional wooden schooner, Harvey Gammage. We will load cargo on August 23rd at Waterman’s Community Center at North Haven’s Fox Islands thoroughfare. The majority of cargo, 10 more tons, will come aboard on August 27th in Portland Harbor.
The approximately $70,000 worth of cargo, packaged in traditional boxes, will sail down the coast to Boston Harbor, where it will be celebrated and unloaded from the hold on August 30th at the Long Wharf (next to the Boston aquarium)! Then transported by a fleet of cherry red trailer bicycles to Boston public markets and other locations. The cargo will be pre-sold online, and also available for passers-by for purchase dockside. It comes in a few different size collections, from little canvas bundles to large wooden barrels. BUY MAINE SAIL FREIGHT GOODS NOW!
All events are free and open to the public! Please join us! Also, check out this great article about Maine Sail Freight in the Portland Press Herald.
Oh my god, it’s so epic. So. Epic.
The Crown of Maine Cooperative distributes locally grown food across Maine and has an extremely talented graphic design team. You can order produce and posters by registering here.
Marada Cook is one of Maine’s most remarkable entrepreneurs. She’s part owner and manager of three Maine food companies, Northern Girl, Fiddler’s Green Farm, and Crown of Maine Organic, that repurpose, distribute, and sell Maine produce across the northeast and have become core to the regional food system. Join me for a conversation with Marada where she describes – in her understated way – the development of these three companies to where they are today. Recorded onsite at the Slow Money Maine conference. To listen to this episode on the Grow Maine Show, click HERE—->