An old construction barge planted with vegetables, apple trees and fragrant herbs is giving apartment-dwelling New Yorkers a chance to pick something and eat it, for free.
Part floating garden, part artwork and part community organizing project, the barge called Swale is currently docked on a river in the South Bronx, at Concrete Plant Park, and will move to Hudson River Park in lower Manhattan from Sept. 15 to Nov. 15.
Founder Mary Mattingly created Swale in part to give New Yorkers an opportunity to forage for food, which is illegal throughout the city’s 30,000 acres of public parks. The no-foraging rule doesn’t apply to Swale, since it’s a barge.
“Because not everyone has access to healthy food in New York, I saw Swale as a tool to advocate for policy change,” said Mattingly, an artist who is dividing her time between Swale and her summer residency at Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France.
Swale is completely powered by solar panels, and it recycles its own water thanks to a system of pumps and sand filters. It also collects rainwater, and it can desalinate and purify the brackish river water if need be.
You can get free fruit, vegetables or herbs. And they say there’s really no limit to how much fresh produce you can get, but obviously quantities are limited. If you’re in the area, you can go check it out. Also see more info on their website.