Blouin Art Info Features Mary Mattingly

A Look at Mary Mattingly’s Floating Garden Project, ‘Swale’
Taylor Dafoe | July 22, 2016

Part artwork, part communal resource, “Swale” is a 130-by-40-foot barge containing a forest garden of edible and medicinal plants, including blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, dandelions, stinging nettle, comfrey, chamomile, and much more. Hydration is supplied by filtered rainwater and New York rivers water. Visitors are welcome to come and pick items for free, but people are also encouraged to bring food items of their own, creating a fully sustainable ecosystem.

In a way, “Swale” was born out of a loophole. It’s illegal to grow public food in public spaces in New York City. So Mattingly moved her project to the water. “There’s so many great things about working on the water,” she said. “Skirting around those land laws is one of them.”

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