"What if healthy, fresh food could be a free public service, and not just an expensive commodity? That’s the question we really want to ask with Swale. Swale, a collaborative floating food project,
is dedicated to rethinking and challenging New York City's connection to our environment. Built on a 130-foot by 40-foot floating platform, Swale contains an edible forest garden. Functioning as both a sculpture and a tool, Swale provides free healthy food at the intersection of public art and service. With Swale, we want to reinforce water as a commons, and work towards fresh food as a commons too."
Swale is led by Mary Mattingly creator of sculptural ecosystems in urban spaces (check also the Waterpod project).
Swale is thinked as an ecosystem for exchange, relying on a growing network of groups to supply some of the edible plantlife and participating in exchange-based sustenance.
The team is working on plans to use an eco water system, purifying river water to grow food. Swale's river water cleaning system will be based in tanks onboard, and rely on saltwater marsh plants. Through a slow transition from tank to tank, plants, sand, and gravel filter most of the salt and contaminants. From there the water enters a second gravity-fed filtration system based on sand, clay, silver, and carbonated charcoal.
Swale is composing a collective cookbook of recipes for edibles and medicinals utilizing some of the foods grown on board.
Finally, the project is exploring how to repurpose materials for infrastructure, using shipping containers to design inexpensive long-term flotation.
Swale is currently in Brooklyn Bridge Park at Pier 6, check the calendar.