Foodways—the cultural, historical, and social traditions that surround food—provide context for what we eat, how it gets to us, who prepares it, and who is at the table.
As foodways are central to understanding the experience of immigrants, Indigenous peoples, and descendants of the African Diaspora, food can help us reclaim a sense of identity and kinship—especially when languages or cultural traditions have been prohibited and erased.
The initiative includes the Food Dialogues, Foodways Workshops and an annual spring symposium.
Fall Foodways Dialogue: Marlon James in Conversation with Dr. Jessica B. Harris
October 21; 11 a.m.
Man Booker-prize winning author Marlon James will sit down with Dr. Jessica B. Harris for a wide-ranging conversation that will explore memory and history, landscapes and lore, as well as fables, fantasies, gardens, and food as they show up in his work and in his life.
Fire Cider Workshop
November 5, 2023; 12–3 p.m.
Taqwa Community Farm
Fire cider—an herbal tonic—is a traditional remedy that stimulates digestion and supports respiratory wellness. NYBG’s Humanities Institute partners with Taqwa Community Farm in the Bronx to offer a free community workshop.
Indigo: From Leaf to Pigment
October 15, 2023; 12–3 p.m.
Morning Glory Community Garden
Explore your creativity and the wonders of Indigo from NYBG’s African American Garden: The Caribbean Experience with artist Jaleeca Yancy.
Ethnobotany of Caribbean Music: Roots, Rhythm, & Resilience—La Bomba
July 19; 3:30 p.m.
At the Edible Academy
This interactive workshop offers a brief introduction on the role of plants in making Caribbean Music. After tracing the history of materials, sounds, and rhythms, participants will engage in an interactive music and dance demonstration—which will culminating in a freeform drum circle jam session.
Symposium: African American Garden: The Caribbean Experience
Saturday, June 17; 10 a.m.–12 p.m.
Curated by Dr. Jessica B. Harris, African American Garden: The Caribbean Experience will highlight the plants and gardening histories that are essential contributions to Caribbean foodways, including those that have been brought by Caribbean immigrants to the United States. This exhibition will open at the Edible Academy on June 17, the weekend of Juneteenth.
Celebratory Project Launch: Welcoming Bronx Community Gardeners to the Herbarium
June 2; 5–7 p.m., NYBG
The Humanities Institute, Bronx Green-Up, and William and Lynda Steere Herbarium embark on a new collaborative initiative to support community gardeners, inviting them to make use of NYBG’s research collections.
New Studies in Food Humanities—The Mellon Fellows Presentations
May 18; 12 p.m., Online
Every year, the Humanities Institute’s Mellon Fellows give a Research Report showing how they use the historical collections of the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, the Archives, the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium and the Garden’s Living collections to further their studies.
Honey Infusion Workshop
May 13; 12:30–3 p.m.
New Roots Community Farm
670 Grand Concourse, Bronx NY, 10451
As spring approaches and the bees gear up for another season of pollination and creating delicious honey, this workshop will focus on herbal infusions with raw honey. We will dive in on the benefits and medicinal properties of different herbal infusions and how they can be used as immunity boosters, for healing wounds, fighting off cold and flu symptoms, and combatting infections and allergies, among many other benefits.
Food Dialogues: The Food of Poetry
April 1, 2023; 11 a.m.
Dante Micheaux joins Jessica B. Harris in conversation about the poetry of food. Micheaux will read from his own work and discuss other poems by James Emmanuel, Fenton Johnson, Essex Hemphill and Elizabeth Alexander. The conversation will highlight the importance of food in African-American poetic thought and as a vehicle for cultural relationship.
Nahua Recipes Rediscovered: Native Mexican Culinary Celebration
November 18, 2022; 2:30 p.m., Edible Academy
Chef Irwin Sánchez will be giving a culinary demonstration and discussing the close connection between age-old Mexican culinary traditions and the Nahuatl language. The workshop will focus on the importance of Indigenous food and languages as a means of resistance and cultural reclamation.
Private Screening: Rhythms of the Land with Gail Myers and Jessica B. Harris
November 12; 11 a.m., Ross Hall
Rhythms of the Land is a valentine to generations of Black farmers in the United States from the enslavement period to the present, whose intense love of the land and dedication to community enabled them to survive against overwhelming odds. Following the screening, filmmaker Gail Myers joins Jessica B. Harris for a fireside Q&A.
Fire Cider Workshop
October 22; 12–3 p.m.
Taqwa Community Farm; 90 W 164th St., Bronx, NY 10452
Fire cider—an herbal tonic—is a traditional remedy that stimulates digestion and supports respiratory wellness. We will be using accessible household ingredients to make this warming remedy.
The Food Dialogues
This series brings together prominent authors, chefs, and historians for important conversations that re-examine our notions of culture and identity through food.
The series moderator is Dr. Jessica B. Harris, America’s leading expert on the food traditions of the African Diaspora. Her 12th book, High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America, has inspired a new Netﬂix series.
In parallel with the Food Dialogues, Foodways Workshops explore the food and drink traditions of particular Bronx communities.
A Seat at the Table Symposium
With Natalie Baszile, Dr. Jessica B. Harris, Gail Myers, Matthew Raiford, Karen Washington and Kadeesha Williams
Two compelling sessions that explore how Black farming informs American history and culture in New York City and across the country.
Two compelling sessions on African American farmers explore how Black farming informs our history and culture—across America and here in New York. A Seat at the Table reflects the long and ongoing struggle by Black farmers to acquire and keep their farms, and regain their rightful place in America’s farming history.
Generous support provided by Mellon Foundation