At The New York Botanical Garden we think it is important to celebrate and encourage cultural diversity through our scientific research and educational programming.
Globally, cultural diversity, like biological diversity, is threatened, and the two are often linked. For example, as plants are lost to a community--plants used as a ceremonial food, medicine, or source of income--a vital part of the the cultural integrity of that community will be lost along with it.
The Botanical Garden, through its research on plants used by people around the world and in its programs in the Bronx, strives to document cultural knowledge about plants and their habitats, and to promote solutions to environmental dilemmas that respect and preserve both biological and cultural diversity.
For example, Garden scientists are working with the local people of the Truong Son Mountains in Vietnam to develop sustainable harvesting strategies for rattan palms, an important plant resource for the international furniture market. This allows for a simultaneous maintenance of palm diversity and provides an economic future for locals.
In the Bronx, we offer programming that honors cultural diversity, such as Fiesta de Flores, the annual day-long festival celebrating the people and plants of Latin America during Hispanic Heritage Month. During Black History Month, we celebrate the culture, art, dance, and food of African-Americans. During the summers, in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, we feature multicultural programming focused on growing and preparing healthful foods from around the world.