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Swale floating forest. © Swale and Strongbow
Swale floating forest. © Swale and Strongbow

A Floating Forest Is Coming to NYC This Summer

Picture of Amber C. Snider
Home & Design Editor
Updated: 3 May 2017

Apple picking on a warm summer’s night on the Hudson or East River sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Well, it’s now a reality: A free floating apple garden is sailing around the isle of Manhattan, bringing nature and nurture to New Yorkers all summer long.

NYC’s floating food forest © Swale and Strongbow

Swale, New York’s first-ever “floating food forest,” will be docking at public piers around New York City until October 2017. In a collaborative effort with Strongbow, the barge was transformed into a “floating apple orchard and perennial garden oasis on the waters surrounding Manhattan,” Swale‘s public relations rep tells Culture Trip. The best part? Entry to the barge is completely free and open to the public.

The “garden oasis” includes 400 assorted edible plants intended to “bring nature and nourishing food to New Yorkers,” as well eight apple trees and six assorted fruit trees. An additional 40 tons of soil were added to the barge this year (on top of the existing 80 tons), as well as 15 tons of lava rock.  Visitors are even invited to take the produce and herbs home with them.

NYC’s floating food forest © Swale and Strongbow

Swale’s goal is to “bring free healthy food to public spaces,” and they also use the space to host film screenings, workshops, private events, and pop-up dinners. Founding artist of Swale, Mary Mattingly, says: At its heart, Swale is a call to action. It asks us to reconsider our food systems, to confirm our belief in food as a human right and to pave pathways to create public food in public space.”

Swale Blueprint © Swale and Strongbow

While the docking schedule is still being finalized, the floating forest will stop at different public locations around the metropolitan area all summer long. Here’s to balmy Manhattan summer nights spent picking fresh fruit and herbs at the local “community” forest. We’ll see you there, New York.

NYC’s floating food forest © Swale and Strongbow