Around the Table: Stories of the Foods We Love
This exhibition has concluded as of September 11, 2022
10 a.m.–6 p.m. | At the Garden
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The exhibition’s featured plants include everything from flavor makers like sugarcane and chili peppers to calorie-rich staples like corn, breadfruit, and wheat, highlighting the most important food plants across many of the world’s cuisines. As you explore Around the Table, look for their icons to discover the science and hidden histories of these species you might think you know.
Above in Works by Lina Puerta:
“Untitled (Green-Yellow)” (detail) from the Latino Farmworkers in the US—Portraits Series, 2018
19 x 14.5 inches
Handmade paper composed of pigmented cotton and linen pulp; embedded and finished with sequined fabric, lace and, food packaging nettings and wrappings