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Eric Andrus working on his farm-to-market sailboat. Photo: Sarah Harris
Eric Andrus working on his farm-to-market sailboat. Photo: Sarah Harris

Sail barge Ceres brings Champlain Valley produce to NYC

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Vermont farmer Eric Andrus just completed a major voyage. Andrus built a sail-powered, carbon-neutral cargo barge called the Ceres. He filled it with produce, and sailed it from Vermont to New York City last month.

The idea was to bring farm products from the Champlain Valley to new markets via historical waterways.

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Reported by

Sarah Harris
Reporter and Producer

A model of the boat sitting on Eric's kitchen table. Photo: Sarah Harris
A model of the boat sitting on Eric's kitchen table. Photo: Sarah Harris
Back in June the Ceres, a deep, flat-bottomed barge with sails, was still a work-in-progress in Andrus's barn.

But on October 6th, Ceres set sail on Lake Champlain, bound for New York City with 15 tons of cargo. The crew docked along the Hudson River, selling farm products at every stop.

Andrus said their products sold well and that most people were excited to learn about the Vermont Sail Freight Project.

"I think that we proved that we can do it, we did do it, and the boat is in good enough shape to do it again. And people do care, that there is some resonance in the work that we're doing." 

Andrus says next year, the Vermont Sail Freight Project hopes to operate for 6 continuous months of the year. He says they still have to figure out if that means trips back and forth to NYC, or smaller, regional trips. 

One of the challenges, Andrus says, was a lack of shoreside facilities for packing and organizing cargo. He says bringing back maritime commerce will mean bringing back waterfront infrastructure, too. 


 

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