Thursday, May 30, 2013

Edible Academy Family Garden Picnic Featuring Celebrity Chef Mario Batali

Chef Mario Batali gardening at NYBG's Ruth Rea Family Garden's new Edible Academy, children's vegetable garden

The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) sent a media alert - asking me to share with my readers and garden audience.
It is my pleasure to tell you about two of my most favorite passions: locavore chefs and edible gardens.  
Never mind that Mario Batali is a celebrity chef - he is a committed homegrown chef and one of the featured chefs in my New York Homegrown Cookbook - next in the series, following on The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook.
Plus, I worked at NYBG and was honored to have had the opportunity to promote and tell the good food and garden news of the Ruth Rea Family Garden.  I loved the plant filled caterpillar that greeted guests at the entrance with its Hakone grass eyelashes... So sweet.
And I cherish the porcelain covered dish given to me by the Korean family gardeners who worked the cultural garden there... It is a constant reminder of a a beautiful sentiment  and edible education exchange.
There is joy and happiness that reigns in this garden. 
You can't miss this:
Join Chef and New York Botanical Garden Board Member Mario Batali on a culinary adventure on Monday, June 10, from 4–8 p.m., with a delicious picnic supper and activities, and watch him in action at a live cooking demonstration. All proceeds benefit the development of the Botanical Garden’s new Edible Academy, hub of the children’s vegetable gardening program.
The Edible Academy will be a dramatic expansion of the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, creating a year-round learning center that will educate 80,000 children, teachers, families, and adults each year about the important connections between plants, gardening, nutrition, and health, expanding on the wonderful programs already in place at the Family Garden.
Tickets for Mario’s cooking demo and book signing start at $40 for adults, $15 for kids. For tickets and information, visit, call 718.817.8773, or email
WHO: Celebrity Chef and Garden Board Member Mario Batali
 Special Cooking Demo Guest Daphne Oz, Mario’s co-host on ABC’s The Chew.
WHEN: Monday, June 10, 2013, 4–8 p.m., rain or shine
This exciting culinary adventure begins with a delicious picnic supper designed personally by Mario. Enjoy your picnic on the beautiful Garden grounds, then dig in to some hands-on fun in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden. Learn to harvest vegetables through engaging hands-on tutorials, compete in a corn-shucking contest, follow clues to Mario’s mystery ingredient, climb a giant oak tree, see a European eagle owl, make your own chef’s hat, harvest bags, seed pets, pickles, and more.
Schedule of Events
4–7 p.m. 5:30–6 p.m. 6–6:45 p.m. 7–8 p.m.
Garden Picnic and Activities
Book signing with Mario Batali
Cooking Demonstration featuring Mario Batali and Daphne Oz 
Cocktail Reception hosted by Mario Batali
and the Edible Academy Chairmen, supported by Whole Foods Market®
WHERE: The New York Botanical Garden Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Horticultural Society of NY Hosts 3rd Annual Urban Ag Conference: Reception, Talks & Urban Farm Visits

Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm, Queens, NY © Anastasia Plakias

The road from the farm to the plate meets at the crossroads of The Hort. Starting tonight through Friday's tours of local urban farms, this is THE place to be to learn about our connections to our food.

See you at the Hort!

The Horticultural Society of New York (The Hort) Hossts the Third Annual Urban Agriculture Conference (UAC)

Visit NYC Urban Farms Hear International Speakers

Field tours include Brooklyn Grange rooftop farms, Randall’s Island Farm and the beehives and garden atop the Waldorf Astoria; discussions will highlight known food movement leaders.

From Wednesday, May 15 through Friday, May 17, The Horticultural Society of New York (The Hort) will present its third annual and largest ever Urban Agricultural Conference (UAC).

The UAC will open with an evening reception and work-in-progress screening of “Growing Cities,” a documentary that examines the role of urban farming urban farming in America and its power to revitalize cities and change the way we eat. 
The following morning, Thursday, May 16th, keynote speaker Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer will kick-off a day of innovative panel discussions and lectures led by some of the most prominent organizations and individuals in the movement.

 “The Hort has been committed to urban gardening for over 100 years, yet the focus has evolved and expanded with changing social and environmental issues, says The Hort’s Director of Horticulture and Public Programs George Pisegna. “With 80% of all people living in cities, we need to increase awareness of food sovereignty and food deserts food and discover ways that food production in urban environments can emerge as a prominent and viable alternative,” George Pisegna, The Hort.

On the final day, conference participants will visit farms in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.  Among the sites to be visited are Brooklyn Grange (in the Brooklyn Navy Yard), a 65,000 sq ft rooftop farm hovering eleven stories over the East River; Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, the nation’s first commercial rooftop farm; Randall’s Island Park Farm, NYC’s only working rice paddy operation; Window Farms in the Global Kitchen Exhibition at the Natural History Museum; the Waldorf Astoria kitchen garden and beehives; and Battery Urban Farm at the southern tip of Manhattan.

“Growing Cities” filmmaker Dan Susman notes, “Urban farming connects people to their food, strengthens communities, creates jobs, revitalizes blighted areas. It allows us to reimagine what’s possible in cities. It challenges us to get beyond the urban/rural divide — to really think about how we can all be producers in a society driven by consumption.”

UAC panelist, Carolyn Dimitri of NYU, an applied economist with expertise in food systems and food policy who is studying urban agriculture in 15 US cities says, “In a city like New York… urban farms are a reminder, or perhaps an awakening … that our food does come from the tending of soil and seeds, and not the supermarket.” She notes though that solutions are not easy: “One concern I have is that we are asking too much of urban agriculture. Is urban agriculture the panacea for our urban food problems, such as uneven food access and poor health? And is it possible for our urban farmers to make a living, tending the soil in our cities?” These questions, and more, will be explored over three days.

Wednesday, May 15 – Opening reception and work-in-progress screening of Growing Cities at Brooklyn Lyceum, 6 pm to 8:30 pm
Here is the trailer:

Thursday, May 16 – Panel discussions at NYU Kimmel Center, 9 am to 4 pm.

Friday, May 17 – Field tours of urban farms in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, 10 am to 4 pm.

For a complete agenda of the UAC, visit: