Rice paddy on World Trade Centre

A living three tier rice paddy isn’t what you expect to find in the centre of New York city. But there it is, a growing art installation on the World Trade Centre campus.

A collaboration between the Port Authority and lifestyle brand, LUCKYRICE, the unique feature will remain on the Oculus Plaza until the Harvest Moon Festival in late September. Then on September 28 dozens of chefs will prepare special dishes using the homegrown rice. 

Asia supplies 90% of the world’s rice. The grain is the most widely consumed food on the planet.

Asia supplies 90% of the world’s rice. The grain is the most widely consumed food on the planet.

“Rice paddies are a common sight in Asia, yet foreign to many New Yorkers. Our public art installation follows small rice seedlings as they go through the life-giving transformation that feeds much of the planet, and that symbolises luck, fortune, fertility and global connections through culture and food,” said Danielle Chang, founder and CEO of LUCKYRICE.

“This unique rice paddy installation celebrates a food staple embedded in cultures around the globe,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “This display is perfectly suited to the World Trade Centre which, both by its name and its heritage, seeks to celebrate and support global diversity. We are pleased to partner with LuckyRice to showcase this display, which continues our ongoing initiatives to transform the campus into a hub of vibrant community activities and create a year-round engaging and appealing customer experience.” 

Rice varieties for this initiative hail from Italy (Purple Jamon Upland Rice), Japan (Yukikihari Lowland Rice), Madagascar (Mamoriaka Upland Rice), Uzbekistan (Amaura Upland Rice), and America with origins in Africa and Indonesia (Carolina Gold Rice).

Rice varieties for this initiative hail from Italy (Purple Jamon Upland Rice), Japan (Yukikihari Lowland Rice), Madagascar (Mamoriaka Upland Rice), Uzbekistan (Amaura Upland Rice), and America with origins in Africa and Indonesia (Carolina Gold Rice).

Five varieties of rice will grow in the paddy, with the biggest growing over a metre tall. 

Produced by a team of local and multicultural New Yorkers and minority, women-owned businesses, the Rice Paddy was specifically designed to foster community engagement. Port Authority employees, local charitable organisations, schools and local residents are invited to take part in the growing and harvesting of the rice. The Rice Paddy, crafted from sustainable materials and eco-friendly practices, offers ample seating to the public and help further efforts to elicit connection.

The 16-acre World Trade Centre campus, in addition to being the home of the 9/11 National Memorial and Museum, today supports more than 35,000 office workers in three completed towers and attracts millions of international visitors who pass through the Oculus and the surrounding pedestrian plazas that have opened in the past year.

Small seedlings go through the life-giving transformation that feeds much of the planet, and that symbolises luck, fortune, fertility and global connections through culture and food, LUCKYRICE says.

Small seedlings go through the life-giving transformation that feeds much of the planet, and that symbolises luck, fortune, fertility and global connections through culture and food, LUCKYRICE says.

Following the opening of Tower 3 about a year ago, the Port Authority has taken an aggressive approach to opening long-shuttered streets to pedestrian traffic and filling the site with a continuous flow of special events and programming to engage the community, as well as those who visit or work at the site.

Last month, the Port Authority installed the final piece of steel in an area in the northeast corner of the site that will become the home of the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center, which is now under construction. And on May 30, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum opened a new section of the Memorial Plaza, called the Memorial Glade, which honours the hundreds of rescue and recovery workers who served on the site in the months following 9/11.