In the new exhibition Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture, the American Museum of Natural History explores thecomplex and intricate food system that brings what we eat from farm to fork. In sections devoted to growing, transporting, cooking, eating, tasting, and celebrating, the exhibition illuminates the myriad ways that food is produced and moved throughout the world. With opportunities to taste seasonal treats in the working kitchen, cook a virtual meal, view rare artifacts from the Museum's collections, and peek into the dining rooms of famous figures throughout history, visitors will experience the intersection of food, nature, culture, health, and history-and consider some of the most challenging issues of our time.
"As the Museum prepares to open this comprehensive exhibition on the subject of food, we find ourselves disquietingly poised between the extremes of Hurricane Sandy-with its extensive devastation, including disruption to the food supply-and one of the nation's most celebratory family- and food-based holidays, Thanksgiving," said Ellen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History. "In such a timely and vivid context, the Museum presents Our Global Kitchen, which addresses the vital and complex topic of food from the perspectives of the environment, food supply, and human culture. Food is intimately familiar to all of us-and experienced daily as a social ritual-but the complex global system that produces it has critical implications for the health of humans and of Earth's ecological systems."
"When many people around the world sit down at their tables, their plates are filled with a pastiche of smells, tastes, and sights that come from near and far-the product of an enormous, complex, dynamic global food system that is, on one hand, an amazing, miraculous product of a global community and, on the other hand, a system in delicate-though imperfect-balance, and vulnerable to disruption," said Michael Novacek, Senior Vice President and Provost for Science at the Museum. "Our appreciation for this reality leads to an enriched life, health, and cultural experience, and a greater capacity to sustain-and improve-the food system into the future."
"My experience in developing this exhibition has given me a renewed appreciation for how lessons that we have learned from ecological systems can help us as we grow and gather our food," said Eleanor Sterling, Director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the Museum and Co-Curator of Our Global Kitchen. "We hope visitors will look at something they all do every day-eat-and think about the legacy of centuries of farmers that have shaped our foods, the wisdom of cooks to create cuisines, the celebrations and traditions woven across generations and geographies, and how the natural environment supports the foods that we rely on now and in the future."
"Food both sustains our bodies and perpetuates our culture. Eating and meals is the place where families meet, business is conducted, and our senses are stimulated," said Mark Norell, Chair of the Division of Paleontology at the Museum and Co-Curator of Our Global Kitchen. "Anyone who appreciates food knows that cooking is an art form. The challenge today is to make this art form both healthy and sustainable, as well as delicious and beautiful."
"At JPMorgan Chase, we are committed to doing our part to help our communities in the U.S. and around the world. We strengthen food security by donating to food banks, financing grocery stores in food deserts, and protecting against the volatility of food prices," said Peter L. Scher, head of Corporate Responsibility and Executive Vice President, JPMorgan Chase. "Access to food is not only essential to combating poverty, it is also an integral part of every culture. It brings people together and helps build communities. We are proud to be the corporate sponsor for Our Global Kitchen at the American Museum of Natural History."
"Our food system is moving towards a crisis. We supported the exhibit and educational materials in order to shine a light on the social and environmental costs of the industrialization and concentration of our current production model," stated Helaine Lerner, Chair of The GRACE Communications Foundation Board.