I was lucky enough to meet Mary Mattingly, co-founder of Swale, as her team was preparing to create a food forest on a massive 5,000 sf barge. It was Summer of 2016 and they were preparing for their first trip into NYC. They were working feverishly at a shipyard on the Hudson River just north of NYC and the enormity of the undertaking astounded me as the good energy of Swale surrounded me. I felt history in the making.
Pic above of the Swale barge before its' magical transformation from hulk to beacon of health
Ever since that meeting I can not stop thinking about Mary and what Swale is all about. So what's it about? Well, before getting a tad serious I have to emphasize it is about fun and enjoying nature. Experiencing art and music on the waterfront. Learning about plants. How things grow. Composting. Eating amazing food. Living the good life.
It's about creating floating food forests that travel along a waterfront with docks that connect to an urban landscape where free organic food grows in public spaces for all to enjoy. It's about imagining a city, a country that doesn't just question antiquated laws and policy but creates answers and solutions. Mary announced on her web site: "This year, Swale, along with many community groups, has also made policy-facing strides.The New York City Department of Parks will break ground on its first public food forest on land, creating a precedent that parts ways with a 100-year old law stating that picking food from public land in NYC is considered destruction of property."
Swale is by far the most mind blowing, exciting, transformative idea that I have ever seen birthed in all my years as a green blogger in my home town.
We put Swale on the United States of Green Map as a must see when visiting New York City. If you're in Gotham during the warmer months when Swale is open you gotta check out history in the making.