5. The Open Orchard at Governors Island

the open orchard
Photo by Timothy Schenck, The Trust for Governors Island

This spring, Sam Van Aken’s installation The Open Orchard will be on display at Governors Island. Taking the form of a public orchard with 102 fruit trees, The Open Orchard acts as a living archive for antique and heirloom fruit varieties that have been grown in the New York area over the last 400 years but have mostly disappeared due to climate change and industrialization. To preserve these rare fruit species, Van Aken has utilized a unique grafting process in which multiple fruit varieties are combined into a single tree, allowing them to grow alongside one another. In doing so, the fruits are able to grow in a safer environment. 

As part of Van Aken’s project, 100 additional trees will be donated and planted in community gardens throughout the five boroughs in partnership with NYC Parks GreenThumb. Accompanying the art installation will also be a workshop series, talks and performances, fruit tastings, harvest events, and culinary lessons.