With Our Powers Combined

If I can’t be a sustainable farmer right now, I can at least be a sustainable shipper!  Meet the Salish Sea Trading Cooperative, a non-profit co-op (transitioning into a member-owned co-op as the resources and legalities present themselves) offering petroleum-free transportation of local food to people in the Seattle/Olympic Peninsula region.

On a crisp, bright northwest Saturday morning, myself and 4 others met at Finnriver Farm to load down our bikes with nearly 300 pounds of farmstead cider to be delivered to the harbor in Port Ludlow where the order would be transferred on board the Soliton to make the 5 to 15-hour sailing journey across the Salish Sea (formerly, the Puget Sound) to the Aster Coffee Lounge in Ballard, WA.

In anticipation of our low-energy future, skipper Fulvio Casali, an Italian-born naval officer turned sailing instructor, is choosing to help his community power-down through sustainable transportation.  Using his home, a Catalina 34 named Soliton, Fulvio makes the 20+ hour trip from the harbor near Ballard (an area of Seattle) to various ports of the Olympic Peninsula (rich in farmed and sustainably produced goods) to load up and sail back again with a cargo of shares.  Over the 2011 season he will have sailed round-trip 11 times, and when he’s not sustainably delivering sustainable goods, he can be found giving sailing lessons or representing the co-op at green-power and sustainability festivals.

In keeping with the fuel-free inspiration of the co-op, the 5 of us made the 3 1/2 hour, 25-mile round-trip bike delivery of hard cider and fruit liquors loaded into panniers and onto a bicycle trailer.  With a couple of stops to regroup and once to swap out trailer hauling, we rode the shoulder of the main highway into town, over slightly rolling hills and with relative ease.  We reached the dock after an hour and a half of pedaling to meet Fulvio, a couple of his volunteer crew and a reporter from Edible Seattle covering the co-op’s green transportation mission as well as Finnriver’s award-winning cider cargo.

Farm to bike to sea to table.  What would you call this? Community Supported Agriculture? Community Supported Sailing? Or Wind and Bike Powered Community Support?

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4 responses to “With Our Powers Combined

  1. Hi Camille,
    This is Fulvio’s business partner; want to compliment you on the blog post about our development of sail transport. We will be featured in a Yes magazine photo essay, http://www.yesmagazine.org/, and I’d love to get some of your photos about the trip, in the essay. Atrribution to you, of course! Can you contact me with a yes/no? And, Du Frie heads out Friday night for another, veggies-only delivery this Saturday AM. Some of the crew spent last night at Aster Coffee Lounge’s cider tasting, with Crystie and Keith. Feel free to say hello if you’re at Port Ludlow. And/or come over to the Sustainable Ballard Festival, September 25th. Thanks! Kathy (kathy [at] salishseatrading [dot] com)

  2. Hi Camille! Thanks for the beautiful story! I browsed around your blog a little, and couldn’t tear myself away. You are a gifted writer and storyteller.

    (One minor correction: sailing from Port Ludlow to Seattle takes between 5 and 15 hours. I might have mentioned 20+ hours when talking about the trip from Sequim to Seattle.)

    Thanks! Fulvio

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