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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Idea of the Week: Paging all Great Lakes Entrepreneurs!

One of the things I want to do with this blog (which I've heretofore done a terrible job of) is highlight cool sustainability ideas that are going on around the world, so that any budding entrepreneurs might be able to take those ideas and implement them in their own hometowns. There are a lot of cool things going on around the world, and if something is working in one place it might work where you live.

So, let's get to it.

The Vermont Sail Freight Project
The Vermont Sail Freight Project is an interesting idea in the Northeast, whereby a few sailors build a sailboat for less than $20k, fill it with fresh produce from Vermont, and then sail it down the Hudson River to Brooklyn, selling and restocking at different ports along the way. There are few costs for an owner-operator once the cost of the boat is covered, since wind is, you know, free.

The positives of this are multi-leveled. First it transports fresh produce from an agriculturally rich area of the country to one that is largely urban. Second, it puts zero molecules of carbon into the air. Third, it supports small farmers throughout the Hudson River Valley and connects the whole region through food, sustaining and creating jobs that are sustainable, important, and fulfilling.

The best thing about this, though, is that it can be implemented anywhere where a large body of water connects regions. Being from Michigan the Great Lakes come readily to mind, but large river systems could work as well. One obvious river is the Ohio, which connects one of the most fertile agricultural areas in the country to several cities like Louisville and Cincinnati. This idea is scalable, but it can also be implemented on the owner-operator level, which makes it economically dynamic as well.

For more information on the Vermont Sail Freight Project, check out their website here.