maine-made farm goods sailing soon

posted July 28, 2015

Maine-made farm goods soon will wind their way to Boston by schooner

It’s art. It’s protest. It’s celebration. And, who knows? It may even be a practical way to get cargo to market.

When the wooden two-masted schooner Harvey Gamage sets sail from Portland in late August, laden with Maine farm products destined for Boston markets and restaurants, it will probably look like a historical re-enactment to those watching from shore.

But to Severine von Tscharner Fleming, it is so much more. It is performance art at sea. It is an economic experiment. It is a bridge between generations. It is both a protest of the failings of the global food system and a celebration of Maine’s regional food economy.

“We don’t need a logarithm of some venture capital-funded technology company to help us do the logistics of selling our food to Boston,” Fleming said. “We can do it with clipboards. We can do it with sailboats.”

Fleming is a community organizer working on the maiden voyage of the Maine Sail Freight project, a summer-long spectacle that will blend social media and “sailor’s gossip,” vinyl records and sea shanties, computers and cargo logs. Many pre-sail events and “side stunts” have already been held this summer to bring attention to the project, including a “teach-in,” picnic and concert in Portland last week. Still to come are a working shipyard dinner in Portland and a parade of traditional Norse wooden boats down the Kennebec River.

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