In this city of so much everything from everywhere, one of the most unique resources we have is a wealth of urban biodiversity that has already adapted to a significant climate change. Plants here have been naturally selected to survive in our changed micro-climate over the past 300 years as we filled the urban environment with pollutants, high levels of carbon dioxide, and the hardscape that created a heat island effect. Despite, and because of, the intense urbanization of New York City, NYC’s wild and abandoned places are inhabited by native and introduced local ecotype plants that pull from a wide genetic base in adapting to these challenging conditions.
But this resource is at risk. While some of the most beautiful native plants are thriving in new ecological landscapes, we need more knowledgeable stewards that will allow these habitats to experience successional growth, and create more thoughtfully managed urban lands that do more than just emulate wild places.
The invasive and introduced plants that have long had a leg up in our city of immigrants still threaten to outnumber the indigenous plants that provided for the Lenape and other local native peoples for over 10,000 years. Through wildscaping and restoration agriculture we facilitate the creation of productive engineered wilderness, taking responsibility for our animalian role in transporting food plants to make space for the native plants that have been left behind in the cultural consciousness of a city that celebrates foods from everywhere but here.
Utilizing NYC ecotype plants to rewild our yards, parks, street trees, and waste places activates our ecological capital to do the critical and time sensitive work of changing at pace with our climate, as their wild and broad genetic heritage uniquely prepares them to do. In the process we create more biodiverse habitats for wildlife - and ourselves.
Resiliate.NYC is an urban agriculture and horticulture exploration that aims to grow native habitats that feed resilient communities prepared to thrive in our unique and changing urban environment. This land management practice and pedagogy weaves together the fields of restoration ecology, sustainable agriculture, soil science, landscape architecture, and ethnobotany to explore and interpret the holistic potential of creating productive landscapes that not only provide essential ecosystem services such as pollinator habitat and food for wildlife, but also feed people and spark curiosity and biophilia. The foods and other plants indigenous to this region are the most resilient crops we can grow and eat here. Beginning to identify these native plants, enjoy them, eat them, and buy them builds towards restoration agricultural and horticultural systems that will nourish sustainable development throughout our foodshed.