Food Tank spoke with Ari Novy, the Executive Director of the U.S. Botanic Garden, who will be speaking at the Food Tank Summit in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Ari Novy joined the U.S. Botanic Garden in 2012 and was appointed Executive Director in 2014. In this role, he leads the Garden’s efforts to demonstrate the aesthetic, cultural, economic, therapeutic and ecological importance of plants to the well-being of humankind. This includes overseeing a staff of approximately 65 employees who work to maintain the Garden’s facilities, steward its plant collections and facilitate visitor services and education. In addition, Dr. Novy oversees various innovative partnerships that seek to make plant science and horticulture relevant and accessible including the Garden’s highly regarded Landscape for Life and Sustainable SITES programs.
Dr. Novy is a plant biologist with a wide range of expertise in plant science and education. He started his career in student support services with New York University. He then worked as an estate gardener in Italy, researched sustainable agriculture in the Philippines, and served as an environmental consultant on infrastructure projects in the northeastern United States.
In 2006, Dr. Novy began working as a Graduate Research Fellow at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where he conducted research on plant population genetics, invasive species, plant conservation, horticultural improvement, agronomic risk assessment, beekeeping management, plant evolution and agricultural economics and policy. While at Rutgers, Dr. Novy taught undergraduate and graduate courses on a variety of plant science and horticultural topics, winning several awards for research, teaching and outreach excellence. Dr. Novy remains an active researcher, holding an appointment as a research collaborator at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Botany Department. He has a deep passion for translating science into best management practices and public education. He has served on task forces and advisory panels for diverse groups including the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Pollinator Partnership, and the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.
Dr. Novy was born in Michigan, but grew up in New Jersey. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University in Italian and his doctorate from Rutgers University in Plant Biology.