Farm to Table by Sea:
Why Deliver Farm Goods by Boat?
Thousands of vessels plied the waters between Puget Sound and Alaska a century ago, delivering fresh local farm produce, lumber and passengers to welcoming ports along the way. The inland waters of the Northwest was once a bustling highway linking even the smallest island communities into a web of regularly scheduled routes. Farmers, dairymen, and ranchers relied on this vibrant and diverse fleet of vessels to bring their goods to market and to receive supplies. The Mosquito Fleet, as it was called back then, provided a unique way of life for early inhabitants. For those who worked the inland waters of the Northwest, the romance of the sea was a common element in their lives.
Today, the watery highways still beckon to those rugged souls who stray from the frail and congested concrete ribbons spanning across the lowlands. Maintaining maritime trade routes is more than just a celebration of tradition. Water transportation remains a viable alternative to roads. As coastal regions become more congested, transportation planners should always keep an eye on the sea as a possible solution to moving passengers and freight.
There are other reasons to support water transport too. It strengthens ties between costal communities by helping to facilitate regional trade and tourism. The more links between local communities, the more choices and competitive pricing available to consumers. In the event of a regional disaster such as a major earthquake for instance, water-based community links can serve as vital infrastructure.
FarmBoat is an experiential education organization whose mission is to share the essence of local maritime heritage by providing active participation in the delivery of farm produce and other essential goods by water. We work with maritime heritage organizations to employ authentic and historic working vessels in transporting local cargo from port to port.
FarmBoat is dedicated to helping newcomers enter the local agricultural and maritime trade. Interns and volunteers learn what it takes to coordinate and transport cargo between local ports. More local trade means more local jobs. A strong and vibrant agri-maritime community will always be there to get local healthy food to your table at a price you can afford.