Food is personal and because of this, conversations around food and agriculture can be emotionally charged and even divisive. How can public gardens address polarizing subjects in food systems while doing these conversations justice? What are the risks and challenges of this work, and what can we do to overcome them? This panel explores methods public gardens can use to lead dialogue on emotional and controversial subjects in food systems, diving deeper into the use of community building, art, research, interpretation, and personal reflection to navigate tough conversations and generate meaningful impact. 


S. Laverty, Idaho Botanical Garden, Boise, Idaho; A. Novy, San Diego Botanic Garden, San Diego, California; T. Moreau, University Of British Columbia Botanical Garden, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; M. Hemmings, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta, Georgia; E. McGinn, Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona; A. Mason, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Illinois; D. Chavis, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Henrico, Virginia