Photos: Culture Change
Previously we've talked about a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) carbon neutral project to ship grain from paddocks to pantries via sail-craft. That was in Canada's British Columbia. For the past year the Sail Transport Company (STC) have been following a similar ethos -- although a little further south -- moving vegetables across Puget Sound, from farmer's fields in Sequim to the produce markets in Seattle, with yachts.
Using only "wind, tide, and a little human muscle power," the Sail Transport Company has spent not a single cent on liquid hydrocarbon fuel. They even transport the boxes of vegies from the docks to the markets with electric-powered cargo trikes.STC plan on being a hydrocarbon fuel independence transport business. "We support sustainable local agriculture and trade by providing an economically viable and reliable transportation system which prioritizes the use of local human ingenuity, skills and labor over the use of unsustainable fuel imports."
It looks like their last delivery for 2009 was this weekend. They'll now evaluate the all the aspects of their experiment to date and see if it is viable to over the same service in 2010.
Is Sail Transport Practical?
The New Resilent ask Sail Transport Company's founder, Dave Reid, the question, "Is sailing food practical?"
"We're running free of fuel... how practical is that?" responds Reid. When you really look at it, we're talking about comparing against a system where you need aircraft carriers to get oil into your tank, so how practical is that too?" Referring to the US Military's involvment is securing oil supplies for America.
Reid goes on, "If you look at a ¼ ton pickup truck and you look at our trike, it's pretty obvious which is going to be economically viable in the long run, because pushing around 2,000lbs of metal to transport 700lbs of produce is a lot different than using a vehicle that weighs less than the actual load it's carrying. So I actually think we're the ones who are practical."
Whilst Culture Change wonders if terms like, "shade grown," "fair trade," and "organic," might one day soon be joined by "sail transported?"
As part of their community outreach the STA venture partnered with like-minded groups, who are also concerned about oil dependency and sustainable agriculture: Sustainable Communities ALL Over Puget Sound(SCALLOPS), Sustainable Ballard and Seattle Peak Oil Awareness (SPOA).
More Eco Sailing
• Grain Shipped Under Sail Reduces Carbon Footprint
• Slow Freight Joins the Slow Movement
• Cargo Ship with Kites: First Trans-Atlantic Trip a Success!
• 17 Wooden Watercraft: from Ships to Surfboards (Slideshow)
• David de Rothschild Talks about Recycled Plastic and his Plastiki Sailing Vessel to, Graham Hill