A Linked history

We are inextricably linked – past present and future – with the plants that we cultivate and consume. Economies of Europe and South America have risen and fallen with the cultivation of crops, such as potatoes and tulips. Global industrialization was shaped by demand for sugar, spices, cotton, and opium.

Today, over ninety percent of our calories come from less than twenty plant species, yet there are over 20,000 documented species of edible plants. Understanding the incredible diversity of plants is essential to global economies and food security.

Rapidly changing climates threaten growing cycles and crop viability, and global transit and trade promote the movement of invasive plants and pathogens. These recent changes make understanding the historical and scientific context of our relationship with plants all the more important.