New Yorkers will soon be able to enjoy free produce from a barge

What if fresh produce was a public service and not an expensive commodity? Artist Mary Mattingly created Swale, a collaborative, public floating food forest that could soon provide free produce to New Yorkers. Built on a 80×30-feet platform, Swale will feature more than 80 species of trees and plants from raspberries, asparagus to wild ginger and arugula.

Apart from providing an alternative to traditional grocery stores, the project hopes to start a public debate around the access to fresh produce as well as gain enough supporters to spark policy changes. “At its heart, Swale is a call to action,” Mattingly writes in the manifesto. “It asks us to reconsider our food systems, to confirm our belief in food as a human right, and to pave pathways to create public food in public space.” As part of the project a group of collaborators will be working with the community groups in places that they will be able to dock to help them establish or lobby for permanent food forests on the public land.

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