Edible Watertown

The Watertown Public Arts & Culture Committee is pleased to launch Edible Watertown, a long-term interdisciplinary project that promotes awareness of our local environment through community engagement and the artistic and scientific exploration of plants local to Watertown. Edible Watertown aims to uplift the importance of local flora and their ecosystems to connect people with the environment right outside their door. The community connections created by this local movement, in response to the global issue of climate change, will encourage us all to be better stewards of the environment and increase recognition of the known natural gifts in our community.

The Edible Watertown project is generously supported by grants from the Watertown Cultural Council and Mass Cultural Council, the Watertown Community Foundation, and the through an Accelerating Climate Resiliency grant from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.

DISCLAIMER: The Public Arts & Culture Committee and the City of Watertown do not recommend or endorse individuals eating the plants referred to in this project without consulting an expert.

Call for Artists and Scientists: Expert Pairings
Expert Pairings invites artists and scientists to explore the ecology of Watertown and collaborate on temporary public artwork. Artists and scientists can submit qualifications individually or as a pair. Individuals will be paired up so that each Expert Pairing features one artist and one scientist as lead collaborators. Together, this interdisciplinary team will create an educational, temporary, outdoor installation in Watertown, MA focused on edible plants, local ecology, or other topics of environmental resiliency that may be found in the Resilient Watertown Climate and Energy Plan. Supported in parts by the National Endowment for the Arts. Application closes September 15, 2024, at 11:59pm. Read the full call (PDF).

Planting Program

In 2023 and 2024, Edible Watertown has expanded to include the Planting Program in partnership with the Watertown School Gardens and Watertown Community Gardens. This program is funded through a generous Accelerating Climate Resiliency Grant from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. In 2023, the Planting Program funded the construction of an accessible garden at the Watertown Middle School, the first years of a summer garden program with a Summer Garden Coordinator and student interns, a series of public lectures by ecology experts, and two calls for art to reinforce the importance of pollinators in the garden. See the Summer Garden program flourish (external link): https://sites.google.com/view/arcgardens/home?authuser=0


Don't miss the 2024 Garden Talk Series featuring:

Urban Nature: Human Nature on April 24, 2024 from 7-8:30pm in the Watertown Savings Bank Room at the Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main Street
Join Peter Del Tredici of Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University for a lecture on urban ecosystems and how plants, animals, and humans in urban centers can thrive together.

Ecological Gardening on May 1, 2024 from 7-8:30pm in the Lower Hearing Room, City Hall, 149 Main St
Rebecca McMackin is the Arboretum Curator at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx and recipient of the 2023 Pollinator Advocacy Award.  

Edible Native Wild Plants of Watertown on May 7, 2024 from 7-8:30pm in the Watertown Savings Bank Room at the Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main Street
Since Russ Cohen’s retirement in 2015 from his position as Rivers Advocate for the Mass Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration, he has been giving wild edibles talks and tours.

A Practical Guide to Native Pollination System Conservation on June 4, 2024 from 7-8:30pm in the Watertown Savings Bank Room at the Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main Street
Join Dr. Robert Gegear to learn how ecological data collected by his research lab and Beecology Citizen Science Project are being used to gain insight into the causes of species loss from bee and butterfly pollination systems native to New England.

Poultice Making with Plants on June 27, 2024 at 7-9pm at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street
Join herbalist Jennifer Anne Tucker, MFA, about food and medicines from the backyard lawn and garden in a hands-on workshop using seasonal plants. Registration is limited to 12 and participants each receive a free copy of Jennifer Tucker's book Evelyn's Ways.

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In 2024, new garden signs designed by Ruth K. Henry and Daisy Hebb will be installed at the school gardens. They responded to the 2023 Call for Art: Pollinator Pathway Signs (PDF)

Edible Plants

Edible Plants invites artists across genres to engage with wildly grown edible plants in Watertown. 


2023-24:

In the 2023-24 season writers and visual artists to create work about ten more species of local wildly growing plants that are edible. Congratulations to our twenty participants:

1. Patrick Fairbairn - Comfrey
2. Lisa Jeanne Graf - Comfrey
3. Jennifer Tucker - Milkweed
4. Eran Hornick - Milkweed
5. Jason Fiering - Mullein
6. Suzanne Berne - Mullein
7. Daisy Hebb - Pokeweed
8. Jordan Escobar - Pokeweed
9. Leslie Evans - Prickly Wild Rose
10. Robert Bensen - Prickly Wild Rose
11. Samara Pearlstein - Red Clover
12. JennyMae Kho - Red Clover
13. Sebastian Ebarb - Shagbark Hickory
14. Ruth Henry - Shagbark Hickory
15. Lina Fernandez Diosa - Spicebush
16. Jake Tringali - Spicebush
17. Paul Beckingham - Trumpet Honeysuckle
18. Shawn Connors - Trumpet Honeysuckle
19. Erika Schwarz - White Yarrow
20. Patti Cassidy - White Yarrow

See and read their work: Edible Plants 2023 Catalog (PDF)
View the Panel Discussion: Edible Plants 2023 Panel Discussion (YouTube)
Read the full Call for Artists & Writers: Link to Edible Plants 2023 Call for Artists & Writers (PDF)
Watch the Information Session from June 16 (Zoom recording): Edible Watertown: Edible Plants 2023 - YouTube


2022-23:


Plants of Our Past was the pilot project for Edible Watertown. In Plants of our Past, 10 artists were selected to each create a 2-dimensional artwork, one for each of 10 edible wild plants in Watertown. The artwork was on display in Watertown in from September 2022 through January 2023. The artwork was compiled into a free coloring book, 500 copies were freely distributed throughout the exhibition cycle. Congratulations to our inaugural Edible Watertown artists.


1. Connie Henry - Bearberry

2. Niloufar Keyhani - Bee Balm

3. Patti Murphy - Daylily

4. Jaclyn Kain - Garlic Chives

5. Cat Bennett - Mountain Mint

6. Kate Martens - Wintergreen

7. Carol Leonesio - Mayapple

8. Debajyoti Biswas - Red Bud

9. Marija Draskic Brancazio - Elderberry

10. Donna Calleja - Huckleberry


See their work: Plants of Our Past Artwork Images (Google Drive)

View the Panel Discussion: Plants of Our Past Panel Discussion (YouTube)

Read the full Call for Artists: Plants of Our Past Call for Artists (PDF)