Why Build An Alternative Food Distribution System?
Ask yourself: What would happen if a major earthquake damaged critical bridges around the Puget Sound region? Aging road infrastructure could leave the major metropolitan areas vulnerable to food shortages after a catastrophic event. The Puget Sound's natural waterways were once the only means of efficient transportation in the region. Since the development of fast highways and railways, local maritime freight connections went away.
Today, the advantages are slipping as traffic congestion and highway taxes on trucks have lessened the efficiency of over-land freight. The trend towards reduced road capacity and increased urban traffic is projected to continue as Northwest cities work to comply with UN initiatives to reduce global warming. While FarmBoat is not planning to become a major freight carrier, we want to re-kindle the idea of developing alternative maritime trade routes between Puget Sound ports. One of our primary goals to inspire the use of the natural waterways for delivering food in much the same way it was done a century ago. FarmBoat encourages ports to maintain and utilize municipal docks for transferring local freight to and from small vessels.
Inter-county trade routes over water help small farms and businesses reach local customers. Unlike roads and railways, minimal infrastructure is needed to support a highly versatile network that can cost-effectively reach within a bike-ride distance of most people living in the Puget Sound region.
Unlike trucks, maritime freight vessels can be built in a wide range of configurations from sailing scows and barges to converted fishing boats and high-speed freight catamarans. Materials and technologies that didn't exist in the days of steam on Puget Sound now may provide some cost effective solutions to serving the people of the region.