by Vermont Rice

interior aft cabin

Here is a view of the aft cabin of our boat.  Just outside the companionway you can see the spokes of the ship’s wheel on the right  The table to the left can convert to an additional bunk, to supplement the sleeping space in the foc’sle.  Full headroom!  We should be able to sit five people around the table.

If any readers are as eager as I am for this project to move from the realm of computer graphics to the realm of reality, I can say that there won’t be too much longer to wait.  The VSFP team is mapping out an early-spring start to construction, to begin indoors in early March.  I have a workshop on my farm, not big enough to accommodate the entire boat in a heated space, but big enough to build some large chunks of it.  Namely, the bow and stern sections, which are a little complicated relative to the rest of the boat and have compound curves.  This is the kind of work I like to approach in the comfort of my own shop with all the time in the world, rather than out under the March sky.

We have an ambitious plan to launch the boat by July in order to have enough time for testing and training before we sail south with cargo in September 2013.  Of course in addition to building the boat there is also a large amount of work developing the web platform for the project and building the network downriver.

To that end  am planning a visit to some potential partners in the Lower Hudson and NYC later this month.  I am greatly encouraged by the reception the idea of this project gets down there, and I’m sure we can find a way to make things work.  Robert LaValva, organizer of New York’s “New Amsterdam” farmers market said to me, “what New Yorkers will really be attracted to is maybe not so much this boat itself, but the idea that this could be the kind of thing we’ll be seeing a lot more of.”  I still do believe that we will be seeing more of this kind of thing, all the more so because this effort is driven by small farmers, who are some of the most versatile, adaptable, and innovative people you’re likely to meet.  It will work because it helps those farmers tell their stories and excel at what they do.  It’s been our aim from the start to create a project with community-wide benefits, but with particular focus on farmers.