Connecting People with the Sea
A Solution to a Sustainable Environment
Our ecological mission is to connect people with the sea to foster conservation and environmental stewardship. Through active participation in discovering the connection between clean water and healthy food, FarmBoat inspires a conscious and emotional desire to have concern for the sea.
A disturbing trend over the last fifty years in many waterfront communities is the exclusion of common people from the waters edge. Escalating waterfront real estate costs, increased regulation and reduced public access have resulted in a proportionate decrease of people who enjoy aquatic activities.
While less public activity on the waters may seem to benefit environmentalist's efforts to re-claim natural habitats, a declining percentage of people are concerned about what they put down the drains. Water quality is paramount to sustaining life. Everything eventually flows to the sea. Without good water upstream, no downstream environmental effort can be thoroughly successful.
Kids can be lectured in school and adults messaged through the media. However, without a real connection with the sea, will they really care?
FarmBoat activities get people to the waters edge and out on it. They learn about the food that is transported over it and the food that comes from beneath the surface. They learn about the farms and fishing enterprises that utilize the water and the necessities it provides for all our lives.
It is not necessary to go to exorbitant lengths to teach someone not to dump poison on their food if it's on their plate in front of them. All the same here. When people have an emotional connection with a local body of water and all its living organisms, they are more inclined to take care of it.
It's simply a matter of getting people to care and take the extra step to properly dispose of potential environmental hazards, to reduce the usage of things that are not sustainable, and to encourage their families, friends, employers and community leaders to be cognizant of the watery ecosystem.
Aside from air, water is the most abundant resource on the planet. Our philosophy is to inspire people to use it with the consciousness not to abuse it.
Improve Public Use of the Waterways to Improve the Environment
FarmBoat encourages communities to provide active places for the public to access the water. Not just places to walk a dog and enjoy a pretty view, but places where the public can interact with the sea in a meaningful way.
Public wharfs, marinas, small boat landings and municipal piers were once very common throughout the region. They provided easy access for the public and encouraged use of the waterways. This has a direct connection with environmental stewardship. For instance, most boaters once knew of the engine damage that could be caused by running over a plastic bag. It was therefore common knowledge in the boating community not to discard plastic at sea. Less people know this trivial little fact today while more and more plastic washes up on our beaches. This is just one example of how connecting people to the water can make a difference.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
The vast majority of water pollutants don't come from people on or near the water, yet this has been a key focus for many environmental preservation efforts. It's what washes down the drains from homes and parking lots into the sewers and culverts that eventually drain into the sea. Exclusion of people from the water creates ambivalence. The elimination of docks and marinas to restore habitat is having an accumulative negative effect by inadvertently increasing pollution by virtue of reduced social-ecological consciousness.
Current Local FarmBoat Initiatives for Puget Sound:
Seattle - Washington Street Boat Harbor: Located near Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle, the historic Washington Street Landing and adjacent waterfront property is under consideration for re-development as public space. FarmBoat is working to propose the development of a small boat harbor and public landing for downtown residents and visitors. What is visualized here is an intimate (human scaled) water accessible park where the public can enjoy outings in small craft, purchase local farm goods and board visiting vessels. With a floating breakwater, the area will be well protected against choppy seas and have the feel of a Mediterranean boat harbor.
Seattle - South Park Public Wharf: Located on the Duwamish River in the Seattle industrial district, South Park is a waterfront community that long ago lost its public wharfs. FarmBoat is proposing to re-establish a floating dock near the foot of 14th adjacent to the new South Park Bridge. This dock would provide a place for local residents to fish, launch and board small boats and allow for floating market stops.
Seattle - Local Farm Boat Commerce Policy for Parks: Seattle currently has a policy to charge up to a 10% fee to any organization selling permitted goods or services in city parks. In 2008, the Seattle City Council passed a resolution to improve access to local foods within the city (Resolution 31019). FarmBoat Floating Market vessels can potentially help the city achieve some of the goals outlined in this initiative by making local food deliveries to locations at specific waterfront parks. However, a fee on local farm products sold in these locations is contrary to the city agenda and unnecessarily burdensome on the consumer and local food producer. FarmBoat is working to develop a policy that will allow local food products to be distributed to Seattle Area residences via water in neighborhoods lacking adequate land-based grocery stores.