Vermont farmer Erik Andrus wants to bring an entirely new approach to the growing farm-to-table food trend by sailing his produce down the Hudson River to NYC. Andrus recently launched a Kickstarter campaign in hopes of funding a $15,000 project to build a sailboat named Ceres – the Roman goddess of grain and agriculture – to get his idea off the ground and into the water. If successful, the model could be a new way for consumers and restaurants to purchase fresh food directly from independent farmers and growers.
“We’re looking to provide things into the urban marketplace that can’t be officially produced there because they take up too much space,” said Andrus to WPTZ News, an NBC affiliate. “Here in rural New England, we have the space but we don’t have the markets.”
According to Heritage Radio Network, Erik initially conceived the idea, called The Vermont Sail Freight Project, as a one-off demonstration to raise awareness about regional food and energy issues while also having a great time with friends on the water. With the help of volunteers, Andrus is building his vessel as a green alternative to traditional food transportation methods. He reasons that with Ceres, he can move large amounts of weight with (potentially) no fossil fuels needed.
To date, the project has raised just over $3,800 and has 23 days left in its campaign to meet its goal. Support has also been provided by the Willowell Foundation of Monkton, Vermont. Upon completion the low-cost sailing barge will reach 39 feet in length, 10 feet in beam (width) and host twelve tons of cargo capacity to allow trade opportunities between Vermont-grown foods and New York City and the Lower Hudson.