Lonely Planet Writer

A floating food forest is to allow New Yorkers the chance to forage for plants

In the heaving steel and concrete jungle of New York fresh and local, sustainable produce has become something of an obsession.

The forest food barge called Swale in New York
The forest food barge called Swale in New York Image by Mary Mattingly

Efforts have been put into urban farming whilst community projects have focused on educating people about sustainable crops as well as beehives and urban fauna. But this summer a new force for good is in town and one that is sure to peak people’s interest and drive crowds towards learning more about sustainable agriculture.

Undated handout photo issued by GrowUp Urban Farms of an Aquaponic Farm in Holland. A city warehouse is being converted into an innovative urban farm producing thousands of kilograms of salad and fish a year.
Undated handout photo issued by GrowUp Urban Farms of an Aquaponic Farm in Holland. A city warehouse is being converted into an innovative urban farm producing thousands of kilograms of salad and fish a year. Image by Philips/PA Wire

What is being dubbed “a floating food forest” is a barge containing all matter of plants and vegetables that will be sailing around New York and New Jersey, stopping at different spots and inviting people aboard to forage and take care of plants and vegetables. The project is called Swale, and it is part community project part art project, and it hopes to inform and encourage people to conceive of fresh food as a commodity that is easily accessible.

On its website Swale describes its mission. “The barge is a collaboration between 18 farming, arts and urban revitalization organizations and a whole slew of artists and educators dedicated to turning New York’s often-overlooked water resources into something that literally and figuratively feeds the community.”

People are invited to forage for food aboard the barge
People are invited to forage for food aboard the barge Image by Mary Mattingly

The project launches on 28 June at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, inviting the public to jump aboard and forage for the likes of blueberries, ginger, bok choy, chard, and more. It’s a community run program with people passionate about sustainability helping it along its way and hoping to spread the love for inexpensive sustainable produce via the Hudson River.

For more info see here.