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Thu, Apr 20

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New York

Urban Ecosystems | Living Among the Plants, Animals, and Fungi of NYC

In honor of Earth Day, join us for an evening of storytelling with a group of NYC foragers, farmers, land stewards, community gardeners, and seed savers, who will explore the often unseen worlds within the wilds and gardens of the Big Apple.

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Urban Ecosystems | Living Among the Plants, Animals, and Fungi of NYC
Urban Ecosystems | Living Among the Plants, Animals, and Fungi of NYC

Time & Location

Apr 20, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

New York, 1220 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029, USA

About the event

In honor of Earth Day, join us for an evening of storytelling with a group of NYC foragers, farmers, land stewards, community gardeners, and seed savers, who will explore the often unseen worlds within the wilds and gardens of the Big Apple. Plant-based cheeses, crackers, cocktails and mocktails crafted by Candace Thompson featuring locally-foraged ingredients will be served!

Alongside New York City’s diverse population of humans, bustling communities of plants, animals, and fungi have co-evolved within an ever expanding urban landscape. The island of Manhattan is a vibrant oasis for thousands of species, including many endangered wild native plants, foraged foods, and cultivated crop varieties that carry with them the stories of our rich cultural heritage as New Yorkers. Often hidden in plain sight, the vast network of biodiversity that lives between buildings and among urban green spaces is also critical to safeguarding our future food security.

Hosted by MCNY curator and food justice activist Monxo López, we’ll hear stories from Yemi Amu, founder and director of Oko Urban Farms; Sigrid Jakob, president of the New York Mycological Society; Candace Thompson, manager of Solar 1’s Stuy Cove Park; William Mullan, an artist and apple forager and photographer; Iakowi:he'ne' Oakes, founder and executive director of the North American Indigenous Center of New York; and botanist and biodiversity activist Marielle Anzelone.

Co-presented by MOFAD (Museum of Food and Drink).

Part of Eat Your Heart Outa series of talks and tastings accompanying the exhibition Food in New York: Bigger Than the Plate. About the Speakers:

Yemi Amu is the Founder and Director of Oko Urban Farms, Inc. In 2013 she established NYC’s first and only publicly accessible out door aquaponics farm - The Oko Farms Aquaponics Education Center. She directs all of Oko Farms' programs including education, design/build projects and community related activities. Yemi is one of NYC’s leading aquaponics expert and is a committed educator. Over the past decade, she has facilitated the creation and maintenance of over 20 edible spaces throughout NYC; created and implemented various culinary, nutrition and gardening programs for both youth and adults; and promotes aquaponics as a tool for environmental awareness and stewardship. Yemi has a M.A. in Health and Nutrition Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. In 2021, Yemi became part of the inaugural cohort of the Dorchester Industries Experimental Design Lab created by Theaster Gates and Prada.

Sigrid Jakob is a community scientist based in Brooklyn, New York. She currently serves as the president of the New York Mycological Society, a mushroom club for all New Yorkers with a membership of 1,600. She's also a board member of the Fungal Diversity Survey (FunDiS), a fungi-focused conservation organization and co-leads a fungi-centric community program for Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, a first for a public green space in the US. Sigrid also extracts fungal DNA in her home lab and teaches others how to do fungal DNA barcoding in support of science and conservation.

William Mullan is an artist based in Brooklyn. By day, he works for a chocolate maker, and by night, he photographs, harvests, and ferments fruit (and sometimes flowers). In 2021, his collaboration with designer Andrea Trabucco Campos, "Odd Apples", was published as a monograph by Hatje Cantz. His work can be seen on Instagram @pomme_queen.

Melissa Iakowi:he'ne' Oakes is a Mohawk woman, Snipe Clan. She resides in Akwesasne Mohawk Territory, where she was born and raised, and New York City. She is the executive director of the North American Indigenous Center of New York. She has stood and been part of the Mohawk Warrior Society since inception. Through NAICNY, the American Indian Community House, and multiple venues, she furthers her commitments through targeted actions, open dialogues, teaching, and solution-driven programming.

Candace Thompson (all pronouns accepted) is a (human) land steward and media maker who collaborates with soil, plants, microbes, fungi, animals, food, land, computers and other human beings in the search for healing, resilience and mutualism in the face of the ongoing climate crisis. Thompson manages Solar 1's Stuy Cove Park, a two acre native plant park in lower Manhattan built atop a capped brownfield where they host community oriented educational programming that centers food, climate and social justice. Since 2021 this unofficial food forest has been incrementally razed and rebuilt in order to mitigate the impacts of human induced sea level rise (Yay).  Before serving as Stuy Cove's multi-species hospice worker, Thompson was the creator of The C.U.R.B., a social practice art project that uses citizen science, non-human storytelling and foraged community meals to unpack the complexities of edible urban ecosystems and imagine a future where the streets are "clean enough to eat off of."

Marielle Anzelone is an urban ecologist focusing on people's connections to nature & how design, education, and government can nurture this relationship. She is the founder of NYC Wildflower Week, an organization that produces programming to engage urbanites with the wilds of the Big Apple. Marielle is a regular contributor to The New York Times. She is also advancing local biodiversity policy. A bill that she helped develop, supporting native plants in public landscapes, became law in 2013. She is also the founder of PopUP Forest: Times Square. A slice of real nature in the heart of New York City, this lively green space will support wildlife and delight urbanites – and then disappear. For nearly seven years she was Plant Ecologist with NYC Department of Parks & Recreation - conserving, managing and restoring the native flora of New York City.  Marielle received an M.S. in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University in New Jersey. She has lived among the plants of the New Jersey-New York metro area nearly all of her life. Home is now Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two sons, not far from Prospect Park.

Monxo López is a museum curator, urban thinker, educator, cartographer, and South Bronx-based environmental and urban justice activist. As a curator at the Museum of the City of New York, he has worked on the exhibitions Puppets of New York, Food in New York, New York Responds, and Who We Are. He holds a PhD in political science from CUNY’s Graduate Center and an MA from Université Laval in Québec, Canada. Monxo is a founding member of South Bronx Unite, and a founding member and board member of the Mott Haven/Port Morris Community Land Stewards. He also serves on the board of the Cooper Square Community Land Trust on the Lower East Side. Monxo was born and grew up in Puerto Rico, and lives in Mott Haven in the South Bronx.

General Admission $25 | Members $20

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