Floating urban forest coming to New York this summer

floating forest
© Swale NY

Looking for a new way to obtain fresh produce? This floating urban forest has your back. Swale, a barge topped with a forest of trees and edible plants, will be docking in Brooklyn, Governors Island and the Bronx this June.

The 80 feet by 30 feet barge and collaborative floating food project will let people on board harvest scallions, rosemary, blueberries, wild leek, radicchio, ramps, sea kale and other fresh produce.

Mary Mattingly, the artist behind the project, told Brooklyn Based via email.

Unlike traditional farming and gardening, food forests require less care in the long term. They don’t have to be replanted each year, and once they are more established, they take care of themselves to a large extent. We want to ask, what if healthy free food could be a public service instead of an expensive commodity? We see this as a step towards policy change in the city, where on most public land it’s still illegal to grow public, free food, and believe that the benefits outweigh all potential risks that have deterred the city from planting edible perennial plants as part of the urban infrastructure. We hope a future New York can actually include this as part of the city’s public plan in a safe, thoughtful way, and believe the time is right.

Inspired by a late-1800s ordinance forbidding picking or foraging for food on NYC's public land, Mattingly hopes the project convinces city officials to repeal the law.

floating forest2© Swale NY

While floating on the Hudson River this summer, Swale will host a month-long installation and performance series called Eco_Hack 2016. Biome Arts, an artist collective, looks to explore and reimagine their relationship with nature and technology by way of large scale, eco-digital installations. Workshops will be available as well.

Tags: Food Security | Forestry | Urban Planning

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