About The Edible Academy

The immensely popular edible gardening program at The New York Botanical Garden will soon be able to extend its impact and greatly broaden its reach through the new Edible Academy. Recognized as a leader in garden-based education for schools, families, and community groups, the NYBG has found that demand for such programs far exceeds current capacity. Childhood obesity and other health problems caused by poor nutrition have brought a heightened interest in learning about growing fresh fruits and vegetables and preparing healthy foods.

Contribute to Support Garden Education!

There is still time to make a contribution to this incredible new initiative, and help support the Edible Academy in 2016. You can learn more about the proposed facilities; the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, cornerstone of the Edible Academy; and the current and future garden programming your pledge will support below.

Building the Edible Academy

Creation of a three-acre state-of-the-art complex will enable the Edible Academy to offer life-changing opportunities and share the important connections between plants, gardening, nutrition, and healthy living—the foundation of the food-to-table movement. With the facility's expansive new indoor and outdoor spaces, and through an increased and broadened range of educational programs and hands-on activities, the Garden will be able to offer year-round programming and double those served from 40,000 to 80,000 visitors a year.

Celebrated chef and NYBG Board Member Mario Batali is Honorary Chair of the Edible Academy Committee. Mario, an ardent spokesperson for the Garden, continues to host cooking demonstrations and sold-out programs to raise awareness and support for our edible gardening programs.

The new Edible Academy facility, with the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden as its centerpiece, is being designed by the acclaimed architectural firm of Cooper, Robertson & Partners.

Programs & Outreach

See what The Edible Academy has to offer now:


School Groups, Teachers, and Families


Urban/Community Farmers, Home Gardeners, and Professionals

From the Ground Up:
Vermicomposting in the Family Garden

Vegetable gardening in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, cornerstone of the future Edible Academy, begins deep in the dirt—and vermicomposting ensures we have the very best soil possible.

Here, Annie Novak, Manager of the Edible Academy, discusses the earthworms that make it all happen, and the improved composting facilities that will be made possible by the Edible Academy initiative.

Healthy Harvests & Hands-On Learning

Garden-fresh, organic vegetables are at the heart of the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, and we're not just harvesting them—we're cooking them and teaching kids and families to do the same!

See how our Whole Foods Market® Demonstration Kitchen and the Dig! Plant! Grow! program are providing techniques and recipes that anyone can use in the home kitchen, and laying the groundwork for future programming in the Edible Academy.

Global Gardens at NYBG

Below we speak with Frank Russo—a long-time volunteer in our Family Garden and the caretaker of the Italy Garden—about the history of the vegetable plantings here at NYBG, and the heirloom seeds passed from generation to generation that make up our many crops.

Beekeeping with Annie Novak

Serving as the foundation of our future Edible Academy, the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden has been a hub of green education for decades, now celebrating the 60th anniversary of its Children's Gardening Program in 2016!

This week we caught up with Annie Novak, Manager of the Edible Academy, for a look into the lives of some of the busiest contributors in this two-acre vegetable garden: our honeybees. These pollinators are a big part of what makes our programs here possible, and they'll continue to play an integral role after our Edible Academy is completed—both as hardworking supporters of our crops' success and tools for educating kids, families, and teachers about the importance of pollinators to our food chain.