through August 2024 
East and West Galleries, South Transition, Kitchen Garden, Terrace Gardens

Agriculture impacts everyone’s daily life and not just because of the food we eat. Explore the galleries and gardens to learn how inventive ideas in agriculture, both scientific and social, sustain and enrich life and how growing and cooking food connects people with each other and communities. Agriculture, the science and technique of growing crops and livestock, depends on innovating how plants grow. Generations of people selected plants for useful traits and developed methods to manage soil nutrients and water. Agricultural innovation and knowledge sharing continue today in laboratories, on farms, and at botanic gardens like this one.

See dozens of colorful varieties of corn and learn about the wild relatives of modern plants we eat, go hands-on to explore the science of agriculture through microscopes and hand lenses, dive into the many different peoples that have farmed the land through the centuries, and enjoy the smells of the plants that connect several local chefs with their food cultures as they share their stories in their own words. Continue your exploration through vibrant interactives showing how plants impact beloved recipes from around the world, see innovative home gardening through hydroponics and kitchen garden techniques, and test your knowledge of popular foods through fascinating world maps created from grains and legumes.


In a special outdoor summer exhibit, the U.S. Botanic Garden is spotlighting four local organizations enriching their communities through plants, urban agriculture, and food growing. From June to October 2024, “Cultivate: Growing Food in Urban Gardens” shares the stories of a diverse tapestry of urban agriculture through local gardens and greenspaces supported by Washington D.C. community groups through special outdoor installations on the USBG Terrace. Organizations showcased include Building Bridges Across the River, City Blossoms, The Green Scheme, and Washington Parks & People.

Explore the organizations’ significance through the lenses of culture, history, and workforce development. Displays feature marquee visuals such as a 30-foot replica of the future 11th Street Bridge Park, a recreation of the D.C. stream and park that inspired Marvin Gaye’s music, a function-meets-art colorful installation of gardening tools and solar dehydrator, and vibrant garden art created by local children, with gardenscapes and food plants throughout.

About the four organizations showcased:

City Blossoms creates opportunities for children and youth in Washington, D.C. to access nature–in and out of school–and engage with environmental education, food, culture, entrepreneurship, community, and art using green spaces.

Building Bridges Across the River provides residents east of the Anacostia River with programs in arts, culture, education, health, and more. They manage greenspaces such as Building Bridges Farms—urban farms that grow and distribute organic produce to help address food injustice—and the future 11th Street Bridge Park.

The Green Scheme unites Black urban growers and environmentalists, forging connections and making strides towards a healthier, more sustainable community.

Washington Parks & People revitalizes historically underserved areas through outdoor initiatives, bringing positive change to the neighborhood by rejuvenating D.C.’s outdoor spaces with arts, play, resilience, and wonder, uniting people with nature.