In August, we spoke with Erik Andrus to learn about his mission as project director at the Vermont Sail Freight Project. In the coming weeks, Andrus and his crew will sail their handmade boat, Ceres, down the Hudson to bring nonperishable foods like rice and apples from Vermont to New York. Though this trip could easily be made via highway in half a day, the Vermont Sail Freight Project will prove that food can and should be transported without using any gasoline. If all goes as planned, they’ll make the 300-mile trip by wind power alone.
First mate Jordan Finkelstein, a recent Binghamton grad, came on board earlier this year to help build Ceres. We spoke with him to learn more about his interests and his work with the Vermont Sail Freight Project.
Edible Manhattan: How did you get involved?
Jordan Finkelstein: Erik is the son of one of my professors from school. I met him freshman year and got to know him outside of class, like when we went to Costa Rica together last year. When I learned about his project, I reached out to him to ask how I could get on the boat.
EM: Have you always been interested in this kind of work?
JF: I studied biological anthropology at Binghamton, and I did some environmental studies work on the side. I conducted an independent research study on sustainable food systems, with the goal of making the link from the farm to the consumer more sustainable. This seemed like the perfect fit for my interests.
EM: What does a normal day look like for you?
JF: We’ve been spending most of our time working on the boat. Things will change over the next few weeks, because we’ll finally get out on the water. We haven’t sailed at all yet—we’ve been saying it’s around the corner forever, but it’s got to be closer then it ever was. We’ll start doing small deliveries to Burlington soon, and we’ll be loaded up by October sixth for our trip down the Hudson.
EM: Where do you foresee this project going in the future?
JF: We’re realizing that New York is much further than Ceres needs to go. A 5-10 year plan would include more boats and more localized lines, including a Hudson River line and a Canal line. We’ll know a lot more after this first trip.
You can follow the Vermont Sail Freight Project’s journey on their website.