Floating Food Forest to Dock In New York Waters
New Yorkers will be able to explore and assist in a collaborative cultivation process
Swale is a collaborative floating food project that will dock at different piers around New York City’s harbor for months at a time. The aim of the project, which is fiscally sponsored through the New York Foundation for the Arts, is to rethink and challenge NYC’s connection to our environment.
Built on a 50-foot wide floating platform and constructed from shipping containers from the Port of NY/NJ, Swale features a gangway entrance, walkways and an edible forest garden. The contained platform will have a working ecosystem of healthy food. It was designed and tested with insights from a nautical engineer, landscape architects and the US Coast Guard.
The floating food forest sits at the intersection of public art and public service, functioning as both a sculptural piece and a tool. Swale is described as a call-to-action as it asks people to reconsider their food systems, confirm their belief in food as a human right, and pave pathways to create public food in public space. By bringing together groups from different backgrounds, they hope to create an environment that works together to come up with new ideas and solutions for food security.
Food forests enable us to diversify plant life through supportive planting. They have many benefits, including being naturally regenerating, resilient, and effective agro-ecosystems. Over time they can provide fresh and free food. Swale hopes to transform NYC by moving away from a dependence on large-scale supply chains with little accountability and striving for community interdependence.
The public is encouraged to be a part of Swale and can get in touch with the team to plan the edible ecosystem. Those who visit the floating platform when it docks in various boroughs this year can get involved by exploring the food forest and taking part in the process of caretaking and harvesting.