If you’d prefer to forage for food on a converted barge rather than wait in one more hellish line at Trader Joe’s, you’re in luck: Swale, the floating food forest founded by Mary Mattingly, will land at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park this summer from May through July.
Founded in 2016, Swale features 5,000 square feet of “edible perennial garden,” according to a press release. The food forest was built on a 130 by 40 foot converted barge, and has previously been stationed in the South Bronx. Visitors to the floating garden this summer will have the opportunity to harvest herbs, fruits and vegetables, guided by onboard staff members. Swale will also host a variety of public programs focused on wellness and environmental activism– think permaculture workshops and composting demos– and in general aims to be a community led space for Sunset Park residents.
One of Swale’s primary goals is to bring fresh produce to New Yorkers who might not have access to it otherwise; their website explains that “as many as three million New Yorkers live in communities with limited access to places where they can get fresh produce.” The organization draws heavily on the work of Elinor Ostrom, who believed that common resources (such as a public food garden like Swale) are best managed when community members share mutual respect and work together to maintain it.
Swale will be open on weekends from noon to 6 p.m. during its summer stint at Brooklyn Army Terminal, with the weekdays reserved for school groups or other special appointments. Current onboard produce offerings include asparagus, chives, lavender, berries and more.