the irresistible fleet of bicycles

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


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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the revival is real!


Sailing Dog, a sail freight focused on sustainable trade in western Washington, comprised a list of the working sail’s around the world.  The twelve listed all share equally inspiring visions to that of the Maine Sail Freight. From moving fair-trade chocolate, rum, and coffee, to local farm produce, and meeting the needs of remote islands, sail-powered shipping is alive across the globe!

If you know of a working sail not listed, make sure to contact them. Many of the projects are open to new crew members as well. Take a ride on the open sea and build resiliency of local economy!

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local food by boat: the vermont sail freight project

Plucked from Civileats

Maritime museums are nostalgic places full of black and white photographs of old sails and rugged seafarers. Ornate boats hint at centuries of technological progress and suggest that craftsmanship has suffered as a result. But the old became new again recently at the Hudson Maritime Museum in New York, when a sailboat arrived to sell agricultural goods from upriver. Visitors caught a glimpse of a river-based local food economy—a vestige of the past and a harbinger of an alternative future.

For the last two summers, the Vermont Sail Freight Project (VSFP) has sailed a boat named Ceres down the Hudson River, carrying all manner of small-scale, artisanal farm products to eager consumers in New York City and at river towns along the way. It has carried everything from grains to maple syrup, honey, carrots, pickles, preserves, herbal teas, goat milk caramels, flour, and beans, selling roughly $50,000 worth of goods in one trip.

– See more at:

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vermont sail freight flies again!

Mark your calendars.
And stay in the loop!


  • Mechanicville, NY  Saturday June 7th.  Market at the dock.  Hours TBA
  • Waterford, NY  Sunday June 8th.  Attending Waterford Farmers Market 10am – 1pm
  • Coxsackie, NY Wednesday June 11th, Attending Coxsackie Farmers Market 4-7 pm
  • Croton-on-Hudson NY, Ferry Sloops, Shattemuc Yacht Club, June 18th, Market, hours TBA
  • Croton-on-Hudson, Clearwater Festival, June 21st-22nd
  • Manhattan, NY, New Amsterdam Farmers Market, June 28th, 11-4pm

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sail freight news

Ceres is preparing to launch again for her second season delivering Vermont goods on Lake Champlain and the Hudson.

We are looking forward to heading down the river again in June, and the highlight of the second voyage will be the Clearwater Festival, June 21 & 22 in Croton-on-Hudson, NY.  Also known as Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival, it’s a celebration of the river we share, environmental activism, music, sailing, and especially this year, of the legendary Pete Seeger.  Will you join us?

Dine Aboard at the Falls
Last year, we hosted dinner on Ceres for one level of Kickstarter donors.  The combination of fresh food from our cargo, evening light on the falls, and the setting of a handmade sailing barge made these gatherings magical.  To raise funds for 2014 operation costs and to celebrate a new year of VSFP, we’re returning to host dinner at the falls.  You’re invited!

Friday, May 30, 2014
7pm, $150 for two 

The evening includes a tour of Ceres, conversation with project director Erik Andrus, drinks, and a meal prepared with local ingredients from our participating farmers and producers.
Please reply to Willowell with your reservation.  This will be an intimate gathering of 8 guests.  Based on response, we plan to host more dinners throughout the coming season.  Please contact us if you would be interested in attending a future dinner aboard!

We can’t wait to get sailing!

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sail freight press!

Ceres arrives in NYC today!

Food Matters | Fifteen Tons of Groceries, Sailing Down the Hudsonvsfp logo

Now that urban rooftops are buzzing with beehives and C.S.A. deliveries are the new FreshDirect, where does the slow-food movement go next? One key issue confronting the locavore movement is transportation — the “to” in “farm to table.”

Before the Industrial Revolution, most food was regional by necessity, shipped via wind-powered boats. Urban waterfronts were vibrant centers of commerce and community. Seeking a more sustainable way to get his grain to market, the Vermont farmer Erik Andrus conceived the Vermont Sail Freight Project to find out if this model could work again today. In April, he raised more than $15,000 on Kickstarter to build a 39-foot-long plywood sail barge named Ceres (after the Roman goddess of agriculture). The Greenhorns, an Essex, N.Y.-based farmer advocacy group, and the Willowell Foundation, a nonprofit education organization, signed on as partners to raise additional funds, handle the project’s logistics and recruit farmers and volunteers.

“We’re at an inflection point,” said Severine von Tscharner Fleming, the founder of the Greenhorns. “Can we, as farmers, collaborate on a distribution system that matches our values and preserves the craft economy?” Continue reading

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sail freight update!


Stay in the loop

NYACK Oct 22


Location and time 11-4
Market at Hook Mountain Marina
in conjunction with Pie Lady and Son
YONKERS oct 24
location and time:
Groundwork Hudson Valley Science Barge, time TBD
Downtown Yonkers just North of the Yonkers Pier.
reception at Groundwork Science Barge
CERES meets the CLEARWATER for a meal and music at the Science Barge
Location and time:
Brooklyn Navy Yard, 3-5pm, reception after
Building # 313
In partnership with Agger Fish and Brooklyn Grange
Cargo demonstration with Revolutionary Rickshaws. Reception and market at the BROOKLYN NAVY YARD Warehouse with Brooklyn Grange, triple island, Agger Fish, Marlow and Daughters , the Pines. Pumpkin carving, art installation with Mare Liberum and other nautical artists. MORGAN OKANE plays from 3-4:30pm.

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questions about the sail freight schedule?

Here are the answers.
(remember, we depend on the wind and the tide.)


Location & Time:
Town dock 5pm
Event: Reception with Peter Bardunias, President of the Southern Saratoga Chamber of Commerce; Tom Mahoney, of The Express; and Mechanicville Mayor Anthony Sylvester  a conversation with Captain Steve Schwartz and Erik Andrews
Thank you Mechanicville!
TROY oct 12
location & Time:
Downtown Marina  2-4pm
Thank you Duncan Crary Jeffrey Buell and Collie Collin
Event: First pop-up market
HUDSON oct 14
location & Time:
Rick’s Point at the Hudson Waterfront 3-6pm
Event: pot-luck, music and market with Hudson Sloop Club, WGXC, letterbox Farm Collective, Kite’s Nest and more. Retiring to the half moon after
Thanks to Nick Zachos and volunteers
Continue reading