Floating Food Forest Hits New York Waters

Created by artist Mary Mattingly, Swale is a free-floating food forest assembled out of repurposed shipping containers. Projected to launch in Spring, the piece will roam the waterways of New York. It will dock at piers throughout the city for several months at a time, enabling locals to explore the structure and assist in the cultivation process.

Driven by frustration at a lack of both public space and healthy food resources in NYC, Mattingly has turned to the waters with a progressive piece of art set to function as a public tool. Community groups, nautical engineers and a team of landscape architects are currently working on the program to turn locally sourced shipping containers into a 50-feet floating ecosystem.


Supported by non-profit A Blade of Grass, the aim of the project is to illustrate a community-led alternative to dependence upon large-scale supply chains. Temporary at present, Mattingly hopes to make Swale a permanent feature of New York — she aims to inspire horticultural/agrarian businesses to take to the waters in a similar fashion.

Swale Swale

If recent developments are anything to go by, floating pop-up urbanism is getting buoyant. Kickstarter-funded Plus Pool, a scheme in the final stages of development, proposes to build an olympic sized, water-filtering, floating, swimming pool in New York. Meanwhile, residents of Rotterdam and the cities of the Baltic Sea are embracing floating forests in the name of promoting urban happiness. We best get our swimming trunks on…