The Willowell Foundation is the organizational sponsor of the Vermont Sail Freight Project. As an imaginative and inspiring response to an environmental problem, the VSFP resonates with Willowell's mission to cultivate healthy communities by connecting people with the arts, environment, education and each other. Historically, Willowell has worked to instill a sense of place through "land-based" programs, and is excited now to be basing our notion of place on the water for the first time.Community involvement, especially from youth, will put the wind in VSFP's sails. VSFP offers unique opportunities to teach hands-on lessons about carbon-neutral transport, healthy food, local agriculture, fair trade, water quality, carpentry, sailing, knot-tying, community service, entrepreneurship, and historical understanding of place. The Walden Project, a nationally-recognized alternative outdoor public high school program based out of Vergennes Union High School, will especially benefit from the project as they work regularly with Erik Andrus to build Ceres. Willowell AmeriCorps and VISTA members serving through Vermont AmeriCorps are organizing the youth involvement from the Walden Project and other groups of youth in Vermont and New York. In April, 37 fourth graders from Vergennes Union Elementary visited the build site. They learned about knot tying and sail dynamics from Christin Ripley, of the South Street Seaport Museum and the Greenhorns. The fourth graders helped sand and glue model boats that will go to supporters of our successful Kickstarter campaign. Since VSFP is all about local food, the kids also made pizza in the Good Companion Bakery brick oven, housed under the same roof as the barge-in-progress. If you teach along the Hudson, get in touch! Our school visit schedule for 2013 is now full, but we are interested to talk with you about how to get your students or campers involved in VSFP in 2014, when we aim to make up to 7 voyages south between March and November. To talk to our AmeriCorps members and staff about how to connect, please email us.
Departure: June 5
July: Launch Party
May: Rolling Day
The Valley Table: "15 Tons Downriver"