On this week's episode of Fields, Melissa (Wythe was away on jury duty) speaks with the multi-talented Annie Novak.
Annie is the co-founder of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, the director of Growing Chefs, a nonprofit that provides food education in schools and the community, the manager of the Edible Academy at the New York Botanical Garden, and the author of The Rooftop Growing Guide: How to Transform Your Roof into a Vegetable Garden or Farm. Annie began her journey into growing with commodity chain analysis (where does food come from, and where does it go?), by working at greenmarkets, and by learning from farmers in Upstate New York. She still stresses a regional perspective, emphasizing the importance of rural farms. Of course, she still loves botanical gardens and urban farms for their social impacts and educational offerings. Today, much of Annie’s work focuses on education. At the Edible Academy at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, she offers children and adults first-hand experiences with plants and fungi in a vegetable garden and a greenhouse.
Melissa and Annie dive into how trees communicate, the metaphors we use to talk about plants and fungi, how they relate to each other and to us, and the need for “tenderness toward nonhuman things.” The two discuss creating biodiverse farm ecosystems and revisit the idea of seeds as time travelers. Annie offers a profound appreciation for the nonhuman living world. It’s a deep conversation, and one you won’t want to miss!
Photo courtesy of Naima Green.