I must admit, I'm not a big fan of grocery shopping. But if that shopping involved sailing, or even watching someone else sail into the dock with my groceries? That might just change my feeling about the whole chore.
The Vermont Sail Freight Project (VSFP) is working hard to make that lovely vision come true. Founder Erik Andrus started VSFP in order to create a sustainable transportation system for the food grown on his farm in Vermont. "Producing food sustainably is not enough," he explains. "The other half is sustainable transport of goods to market and equitable exchange."
"At first," Erik writes, "I started thinking of this mission more as a food related publicity stunt... I thought I would carry tonnage of rice downstream... and return by land." But with input from other farmers and boatbuilders, the project grew and evolved into a collaboration with over thirty farms. And this harvest season, they sailed Ceres, a purpose-built scow-freighter, from Lake Champlain to the Port of New York. National Geographic documented the adventure in this video:
Ceres is currently on her way back to Vermont, but plans are already underway (after a well-deserved winter's rest) for more deliveries next year. "We are willing to land most anywhere with a dock or even just a beach," he promises.
So maybe in 2014 I can skip that trip to the grocery store, and meet up with Erik and Ceres instead, somewhere on a riverbank. That sounds like a much better way to go grocery shopping.
Learn more by visiting the Vermont Sailing Freight Project website.