the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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milk: the new crude oil?

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NPR’s The Salt, on why the USDA is purchasing $20,000 worth of cheese to help US dairy farmers– and why it doesn’t really make a difference to the big dairy industry. If this piece whets your appetite to understand globalization and milk production, we recommend you keep on down the rabbit hole with this Modern Farmer piece. Then, watch this mind-blowing lecture that we posted last July about the impact that trade deals like the TPP would have on small dairy farmers in Maine.


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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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Photo by Jim Pepper, compliments of Hakai Magazine

Andrus is the kind of guy who puzzles over why, in the face of tremendous evidence, people continue to do things they know are ultimately maladaptive.

You followed our great journey from Maine to Boston all summer, but do you know where all this Sail Freight business started? With a Vermont grain farmer named Erik Andrus and a forward-thinking sailor Steve Schwartz, who took on the incredible challenge of sailing a season’s crop down the Hudson River to sell at markets in New York City.

Lina Zeldovitch over at Hakai Magazine, a Journal of Coastal Science and Societies, published this beautiful piece on Vermont Sail Freight in April. It’s a great story that ties together the environmental effects of our current shipping methods, the health of our coastal communities, and what unflinching optimistic realism can accomplish.


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trade, commons, seedstock and revolutionary politics

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.
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more on trade deals & GM standards

The European Union is negotiating the potential future of British agriculture with American corporations, developing deals that, unless tempered, could possibly threaten UK sovereignty
by Samantha Lyster for Fresh Produce Journal
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The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US is an attempt by both parties to strip away red tape.

The Americans are looking for more freedom to trade in a range of industrial sectors, including agriculture. The NFU recently asked for assessments to be carried out in the areas of meat, eggs, and sugar to ascertain what impact TTIP would have on these sectors.

However, apart from Freshfel, the European fresh produce association, which has been involved with talks on apples and pears, it appears that the EU has not engaged in any talks with UK representatives for the fresh produce industry, although the Fresh Produce Consortium is aware of the negotiations and is monitoring news surrounding them.

Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the southwest, claims that emerging information gives UK farmers, especially small-scale operations, great cause for concern. She says that if successful, the agreement could result in the harmonisation of food standards between the EU and GM-friendly US.

“The potential race to the bottom on environmental standards, employment rights and animal welfare is one of the key concerns Greens have about these secretive trade negotiations.

TTIP is a huge threat to hard-fought- for European standards on the quality and safety of our food,” adds Cato. All parties concerned over the negotiations point to the element of the treaty called investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). ISDS in effect grants multinationals the same legal position as a nation state itself, and allows them to sue sovereign governments in so-called arbitration tribunals on the grounds that their profits are threatened by government policies.

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