A floating forest of fresh produce is coming to the coast of New York City for the second time in two years. Swale, a 130-by-40 foot barge populated with edible fruits, vegetables, and herbs, will return to the waters surrounding the concrete jungle from April to October, Condé Nast Traveler reports.
This year, Swale will feature an upgrade thanks to an investment from Strongbow cider. Swale won’t regularly serve Strongbow, but there will be select Strongbow events where people over 21 can enjoy some hard cider, a spokesperson for Strongbow tells VinePair.
Swale was created to highlight the function of food as a public resource in cities, and to give New Yorkers a taste of nature. As part of Strongbow’s partnership with Swale, the barge was outfitted with a Strongbow apple orchard, 400 edible plants, and tons of gravel and landscaping.
Best of all: everything is free.
Mary Mattingly, the sculpture artist and activist behind Swale, debuted the barge last year as a way to bring fresh food to New York City. Fresh greens aren’t as easy to find in the city as they are in the countryside unless you brave the lines of Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Foraging for your own greens in New York is basically unheard of. Swale changed all that, but it almost didn’t survive a second year.
“The future of Swale was uncertain as the barge headed upstate to over-winter last November,” Mattingly told Condé Nast Traveler. “But thanks to Strongbow and the Swale team, we have been able to fully realize the vision of creating a floating food forest and showing New Yorkers a new and surprising way to connect to nature and revive and thrive.”
The way that sea levels are rising, growing some extra produce offshore isn’t all that crazy of an idea. Who knows. What is an art project today could be a life saver tomorrow.
Exact dates for Swale’s travels haven’t been confirmed yet, and the Swale website and social media pages have yet to be updated. VinePair could confirm, however, that Swale will be docking at public piers from April through October.