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NYBG Art & Science of Edible Plants

Around the table: Stories of the foods we love, 4 June 2022 to 11 September 2022, New York Botanical Garden, June 2022

A Celebration of the Art and Science of Edible Plants

Food is at the center of many of life’s most important events. When we gather together for a meal, the dishes we share often tell a story—and we share a bit of ourselves. Explore the rich cultural history of what we eat throughout this multifaceted, engaging exhibition that examines the art and science of foodways and food traditions, many dating back thousands of years.

From global dietary staples such as rice, beans, squash, and corn to the regional spice and flavor provided by peppers, greens, and tomatoes, plants are at the base of all culinary customs. Discover the diversity and beauty of plants that are grown for cuisine around the world. Across NYBG’s 250-acre landscape, uncover the botanical origins of the foods you think you know; gain a deeper understanding of the environmental and social impacts of food choices throughout history; and gather at artist-designed tables that explore the significance of the featured plants, bringing to life inspiring stories of community and survival.


Enid A. Haupt Conservatory

Explore the diversity and beauty of an abundant variety of plants that are grown for food all over the world through a living exhibition in and around the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory—from an undulating field of grains to edible plants such as bananas and rice.

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Artist-Designed Tables

Gather around tables designed by Bronx artists and set throughout the Garden’s landscape, each exploring the cultural and historical significance of edible plants and plant-based food traditions, and sharing the personal food stories of the creators.

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African American Garden: Remembrance & Resilience

From cotton and tobacco, commodities that drove the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, to okra and greens that turned up on tables throughout the country, take a look at the history of the African American experience in the U.S. through the lens of living plants.

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Works by Lina Puerta

Colombian-American artist Lina Puerta uses her artwork to explore the often overlooked social and cultural impacts of the American food system, and humans’ increasingly distant connections to the natural sources of our food, in a gallery display entitled Accumulated Wisdom.

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Art & Science: Mertz Library Building Galleries

Explore the landscape of American cooking through 150 years of vegetarian cookbooks in the Mertz Library’s vast collection, and discover the history of domestication, traditional cropping systems, and more.

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Bronx Foodways Oral Histories Project

What began in the 1980s as a movement to reclaim abandoned city lots with the first Bronx Green-Up community gardens has since provided places of refuge and togetherness. Explore first-hand portraits of the growers, volunteers, and activists who made it possible as we continue to document these stories for future generations.

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