A Botanical Garden that Cooks
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has been growing plants and educating the public for over 125 years. Its historic 1901 Botany Hall was renovated to add a teaching kitchen using green building techniques and re-opened in May 2018 with a mission to empower people with tangible cooking skills and relevant nutrition knowledge. Participants prepare food together, sometimes harvesting directly from Phipps’ Edible Garden. Classes enrich adults’ abilities to prepare healthy, vegetable-rich meals at home. Phipps also partners with the University of Pittsburgh Medical School and their local hospital systems to host Culinary Medicine programming for their students and doctors. Phipps offers children preschool through teens opportunities to learn more about food and plants in the kitchen and in the community. And virtual classes are available to all.
As these groups gain confidence in the kitchen, Phipps also aims to inspire curiosity and excitement around nature and the science of growing our own food. Education serves to foster sustainable lifestyles with courses including backyard gardening and zero-waste cooking. By installing rooftop edible gardens, they educate children, teen interns, and visitors about gardening skills and the origin of our food. The award-winning Homegrown backyard gardening program has installed over 300 raised bed vegetable gardens in food-insecure neighborhood households and provides gardening and cooking support for two years. Phipps shows that when the botanical community joins forces with medicine and culinary arts to address societal health challenges, we can build a culture of health for all.