The Eastern Seaboard is about to take a trip back in time with Maine Sail Freight‘s quest to deliver goods from Maine to Boston. The adventure starts in Portland on August 27th, with the loading of foods made by small local trades and farmers to be sailed down to Boston by the evening of the 29th, along with many activities planned in celebration. The project is not just to relive the good ‘ol days but explore how we make, move, and consume– and how to reevaluate the hyper-complexity of the world trade network. The project is put together by the Greenhorns, named after the young farmers they aim to support.
The 11 tons of freight will be loaded in Portland on to the 19th century schooner and they would love your help loading starting at noon August 27th. The ship set sail the next day Boston bound on the 29th where you can catch a sight of it entering the harbor. Unloading is set for the 30th on Long Wharf where you can grab a sample box of goods fresh from Maine, meet the crew and help move the cargo. There will be dinners, kids activities, live music, and presentations through the week so make sure to check out their calendar.
Severine von Tscharner Fleming, director of Maine Sail Freight, sees the event not just a way to look back at how commerce worked a century ago but also a way to look forward. “This provides an imaginative pageant about alternative futures. Acting on values that do not correspond to ‘rational markets'”.
The products being shipped are non-perishables that will last through a season and can be produced year round. Maple candy, seaweed, beeswax candles, solar dried sea salt are among the pre-boxed goods which will be offered at the ship or in the Boston Public Market and other venues. Maine Sail Freight provides the means for farmers to make small farms productive year round, and provide insight into the deep historical politics and economics of commodities like salt.
von Tscharner Fleming wants the project to inspire us to ask “What is the appropriate level of complexity of a food network in terms of resilience and democratic control? A sailboat is mastered by only 8 people, so it is a question of technology.”