Mary Mattingly, Swale
333 people pledged $32,523 to support this project on Kickstarter.
New York’s food deserts — areas described by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as having little to no access to fresh food and produce — have been a primary concern to artist Mary Mattingly. Her response: build a 5,000-square-foot floating food forest. With the support of nonprofit A Blade of Grass and 333 backers, Mattingly bought a barge, filled it with soil, installed a desalination system, and planted produce, from hardy kiwis and goldrush apples to sea peas and peppermint. Called Swale, the barge has hosted over twenty free food and education programs and organizations in Brooklyn and the Bronx. While Swale is no silver bullet for the problem of food deserts, Mattingly’s work permits us to rethink and reclaim public spaces as places that can support sustainable living. "Water is a human right," she says. "What if food could be that way, too?"