BP invests $2 million in hydroponic classrooms
by Patrick Kearns
Nov 10, 2015 | 5626 views | 0 0 comments | 148 148 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Borough President Eric Adams is hoping that more than a tree will grow in Brooklyn with the announcement of a $2 million investment in hydroponic classrooms. The urban farming initiative utilizes a partnership with New York Sun Work to promote urban sustainability in schools through hands-on education.

“Brooklyn is getting back to its roots as we move into a greener future, growing healthy food and talented students in the same classroom,” said Adams. “I am particularly excited that we are launching ‘Growing Brooklyn’s Future’ in communities like Brownsville, Bushwick, and East New York, areas where our children have historically been left behind.

“In the spirit of One Brooklyn, we are planting seeds of opportunity in every neighborhood, and innovation and progress will flower across our borough from stems of success that are grounded in STEM education,” Adams added.

A dozen schools across Brooklyn will get these innovative science laboratories, each with an allocation of $167,000 from the 2016 budget. Adams made the announcement at Academy of Urban Planning, a high school located at the Bushwick Campus in a future hydroponic classroom.

The schools in the program include PS 21 in Bedford-Stuyvesant; Brooklyn Democracy Academy in Brownsville; Academy for Environmental Leadership, Academy of Urban Planning, IS 383 and PS 377 in Bushwick; High School for Medical Professions, IS 211 and PS 279 in Canarsie; Brooklyn Lab School and Multicultural High School in Cypress Hills; and IS 292 in East New York.

“We have had a successful hydroponics program running for eight years and are elated to expand,” said Andrew Brown, principal of the Brooklyn Democracy Academy. “Our expansion will include aquaponics, which is a game changer for our students and community. This truly has far reaching potential for our students and their families.”

Adams specifically mentioned how schools need to grow as society grows and our relationship to the food we consume and the environment around us changes. It’s especially important in communities that typically wouldn’t have the opportunities for programs like this in the past.

“Our youngsters will have an opportunity to learn first-hand about greenhouse technology and other science concepts that will propel them into the 21st century, thus equipping them with the required tools to become more competitive in the worlds of technology, science, and sustainability,” said Nadine Whitted, district manager of Community Board 4.

The program was made possible through a partnership between Adams’ office and New York Sun Works, a non-profit organization that builds science labs in urban classrooms. The Greenhouse Project Initiative draws on the concept of the “science barge.”

The science barge was created in 2007 by New York Sun Works. It was a fully sustainable farm located entirely on a barge floating in the Hudson River.

“It was the first demonstration of a high-yield, commercial-grade urban food production facility that was powered by wind and solar energy, heated with vegetable oil, and irrigated by rainwater,” the New York Sun Works website explains.

The goal of the organization is to have 100 greenhouse classrooms by 2020. The first was developed at PS 333 in Manhattan.

“Public-private partnerships like these help us revitalize science and sustainability programming in New York City public schools,” said Sidsel Robards, director of Development and Events for New York Sun Works.

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