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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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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.