Putting a nautical spin on locavore eating, Swale, according to its creators, is “dedicated to rethinking and challenging New York City's connection to our environment,” but you can be forgiven for thinking it looks like a bunch of trees on a barge, because, well, that’s essentially what it is. Built on platform measuring 130 by 60 feet, Swale is essentially a floating farm with plots growing vegetables and herbs that are free for the taking.
The barge has been moving around New York Harbor, from Governors Island to Brooklyn Bridge Park to its current port-of-call: Concrete Plant Park along the Bronx River not far from the Hunts Point Produce Market. Visitors are free to come aboard Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 7pm. The pickings include kale, beets, chard, arugula, leeks and artichokes grown in planters made from recycled plastic bladders used by the military for water storage. Additionally, there’s a white ten-by-12-foot greenhouse that also serves as a small performance space.
The folks behind the project view Swale as both a work of public art and public service providing free food as a way of knitting together local communities. One thing’s for sure: You can’t get fresher groceries anywhere else for the same price.