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.
“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.