Home > Breaking > Floating Food Forest in Sunset Park Offers Fruits and Veggies – Through July 1

Floating Food Forest in Sunset Park Offers Fruits and Veggies – Through July 1

15 Jun 2018 9:43 AM

By Julianne McShane for brooklyndaily.com

Call it sea-to-table!

A floating food forest on a barge docked at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park offers locals a slice of nature in the concrete jungle by allowing them free pickings of fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables every weekend. Swale has become a hub for locals since it opened on the Sunset Park waterfront on May 5, according to its founding artist, who urged locals to come visit before it sails away on July 1.

“It’s completely free — people go there and pick fresh fruits and tour through the space on the weekends,” said Mary Mattingly, who lives in Gowanus.

The barge welcomes local school groups for tours and workshops during the week, and on the weekends locals can come enjoy the sweet scent of flowers and pick the lettuce, peppermint, oregano, kale, arugula, thyme, strawberries, and bok choy — all for free. Plus, grapes, yams, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and plums will sprout within the next few weeks, according to Mattingly, who said that her team is passionate about considering how to help people harness the power of plants.

“That’s what we’re thinking about — how can plants be used for wellness purposes and nourishment in eating?” she said.

The barge was previously docked off Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park last summer, and then off of Concrete Plant Park in the distant borough of the Bronx through last fall. Its stay at the Brooklyn Army Terminal is funded by the terminal and Whole Foods’ Five Percent Days, when the grocery store chain donates five percent of its profits to local organizations, Mattingly said.

When it closes up shop permanently on July 1, the Swale team will transplant the plants onto land, at the Brooklyn Army Terminal and elsewhere in the city, and begin to think about how to move Swale’s mission of making healthy eating accessible to solid ground — especially since research shows access to fresh fruits and vegetables is dependent on socio-economic status and the neighborhood in which one lives, factors which Mattingly said Swale can help change.

“It’s kind of been our mission with Swale to start places like Swale on land that are commons-like, that anyone can pick through,” Mattingly said. “We found a lot of people are big fans of it and are in need of having something like this more permanently.”
Swale at Pier Four at the Brooklyn Army Terminal (140 58th St. at First Avenue in Sunset Park, www.swaleny.org). Through July 1, Saturdays and Sundays, 12 pm–6 pm. Free.
Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcsh[email protected]nglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.

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