Growing Cities Blog

Grow Where You Are!

November 8th, 2013
Kim

Check out our brand new infographic co-created by Sustainable America. You can always grow something somewhere, Grow Where You Are! Here are some ways you can get involved in growing in your community!

Grow Where You Are

Vermont Sail Freight Launches in October!

September 9th, 2013
Kim

Forward: Since this post is based in personal experience, I figure I would introduce myself to avoid confusion. My name is Kim and I’m happy to say I’m working as an intern for Growing Cities! I am very excited to be blogging with you all from now on!

During World Water Week last week, I could not help but be reminded of an amazing project that I’ve been following for the past year. I was lucky enough to go to college in beautiful Vermont, where there are so many people rethinking our food system. One of whom I have had the chance to meet on a couple of occasions (he’s a real “diversified” farmer, experimenting with rice, using draft horses, milling his own grain for the delicious bread he sells at local markets, the list goes on!). His name is Erik Andrus and the first time I met him, some classmates and I were making a film about his farm and about why he does things the way he does (https://vimeo.com/24893534) and the second time I was helping him bale hay (which was one of the most fun experiences in my life). But I remember him, even at that time a couple years ago, talking at length about the newest project that had been buzzing around his head. It was fairly simple: using solely water and wind power, carry and sell Vermont products down the Hudson Valley waterways, all the way to New York City.

VSF

Last fall, he launched his Kickstarter campaign for Vermont Sail Freight, and along with partnership from the Willowell Foundation in VT and the Greenhorns, the project was soon a GO! To see the building process, look at their blog http://vermontsailfreightproject.wordpress.com/

I’m excited for this project for many reasons, but two of which stand out in relation to urban agriculture and meeting the food demands of urban centers. The Vermont Sail Freight Project is one that connects city residents with good food from producers – whose main concerns are quality of their products and health of their land, communities, and children – in a sustainable manner. The vessel has a practical design: “the Vermont Sail Freight Project’s synthesis of these new and old influences led to this prototype design, 39 feet long, 10′ wide, and capable of carrying 12 tons. She’s suitable for lake, canal, river and harbor navigation, adept at handling and sorting cargo, and is an attractive means of delivering produce directly to our customers” and only needs a small crew. If the vessel, named Ceres, proves to be as cost and energy effective as she seems through her upcoming voyage, maybe we could be seeing more sailing barges pop up on our waterways. As Greenhorns put it:

“As we conceive of the next 10 years in local food system development, and the entry and scaling of next generation farm operations– distribution is a keystone issue. We’ll be working on the vast re-design of processing, aggregation, transportation, and value-adding, for a regional food system that is fair, transparent, and synchronizes product flow without pinching the farmers unfairly. As we embark re-building a regional food system, we’ll do well to recall our history, and the trends that have disempowered producers and served to centralize and concentrate control of the supply-chain– this sail boat project is a perfect vessel for a tremendously important conversation about distribution.”

I couldn’t agree more! (More on the VSF website http://www.vermontsailfreightproject.org/greenhorns.html)

VSF4

Another thing about this project is that it uses technology to its advantage. It was an internet-based startup, which will pre-sell its goods through an online market called yourfarmstand.com (also started in VT) and will allow customers to track Ceres’ progress on Google maps as she sails downriver. I think it is the perfect marriage of something old and something new. There is something very physical and personal about this project, reminding us of the old trading routes and maritime history, and at the same time, it uses the internet to both facilitate the public’s connection to the project and to create a system that is easy for customers to get involved. I enjoyed how the Greenhorns dubbed the project on the website, as a “poetic water-shed connection to the marketplace and eaters.”

Ceres launches in October! For more information, visit http://www.vermontsailfreightproject.org/home.html

The images on in this post are from the VSF blog.

-Kim

Almost there!

April 29th, 2011
admin

Hey everyone…it’s been a little bit since our last post.  Busily been working on getting things ready for the road trip – can’t believe we leave in just a few days!

Since we last wrote, we’ve been filming around town here in Omaha, acquiring last second equips, ironing out technical details, and getting all the legal and business things straightened out.

One result…Andrew and I are officially partners in the Elmwood Motion Picture Company, LLC.

Posts will be a lot more frequent once we get on the road, with video updates and so on.  We are working on having the first video to put on the site in the next couple days.

And keep on the lookout for a completely revamped site very soon!

 

Website under construction

March 26th, 2011
admin

Bear with us…we are currently working over the site to give it a makeover — no worries though, the completed site will be up soon!

Growing Cities

February 3rd, 2011
admin

The launch of the Growing Cities blog today — 3 months, 20 cities, and a lot of urban farmers!