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Planting Seeds of Education: A rice paddy takes form in Lower Manhattan

Planting Seeds of Education: A rice paddy takes form in Lower Manhattan  
In the shadows of the steel and glass towers of the new World Trade Center and next to the soaring sculpted concrete of Calatrava’s gleaming white Oculus, stands a delicate installation with small green vegetation swaying in the wind.
 
The creation of LUCKYRICE founder Danielle Chang and put on in partnership with The Port Authority of NY/NJ, a sculptural and functional rice paddy has taken shape and was inaugurated yesterday at a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring education, dancing, and remarks by local officials. The event was the culmination of years of lobbying and planning by Chang to create an edible art installation in the middle of urban New York City.
 
Representing the tradition and history of the Far East, while also educating passersby on the history of rice cultivation, the paddy will remain in the plaza through the next four months. Designed to mimic the terraced rice fields of Asia (where more than 90 percent of the world’s rice is produced), five varieties of rice will be grown during the installation – Purple Jamon Upland Rice from Italy, Yukikihari Lowland Rice from Japan, Mamoriaka Upland Rice from Madagascar, Amaura Upland Rice from Uzbekistan, and Carolina Gold Rice from the U.S.. Rice is a truly global dish, as this variety demonstrates.
 
The Confucius Institute at China Institute ([email protected]) is one of the sponsors and China Institute is planning a food and ideas festival tied to the rice paddy installation scheduled for September (more details to come). China Institute’s Director of Operations Michael Buening helped cut the ribbon, after the assembled crowd heard from Port Authority executives Hugh McCann and Robert Cotton, and LUCKYRICE’s Chang herself.
 
We invite our readers to explore the rice paddy installation- LUCKYRICE has a great webpage about it– and, for further learning, check out the art and programs at China Institute, located a five minute walk from the Oculus Plaza.
 
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