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Announcing the 13th Discovering Sustainability Science Youth Conference!

It’s that time of year again! The NY Sun Works Discovering Sustainability Science Youth Conference is on the horizon, and we’re incredibly excited to share some of the first details about this year’s celebration of science. This year’s Conference will be held on May 23rd, 2024, once again at the beautiful Javits Center! Surrounded by the iconic Javits rooftop farm and pavilion, students from partner schools across the city will join us on Manhattan’s west side for a day of learning, sharing, and scientific exploration. Partner schools interested in attending, please check out our Youth Conference Info Sessions, available on our Upcoming Events Calendar. 

The Youth Conference is an annual student showcase where Farmer Scientists in our program come together to take the stage, share their projects, and connect with peers who are also passionate about climate science. Last year, we welcomed over 900 students and teachers, with presenters as young as 2nd grade and as old as high school seniors sharing what they’ve learned in their Hydroponic Classrooms. Students in our High School Workforce Development Program participated in our  first-ever Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Career Fair, where 16 organizations in education, sustainability, science, and urban farming came together to connect our students with internships, job opportunities and post-secondary pathways.

Simultaneously, our Associate Board met with these same students for resume reviews, helping prepare them for professional futures. We were also excited to share our first Student Art Show, presented by the students at West End Secondary who created a collection of pieces inspired by their research in food and science. Our Youth Press Team also covered the event live, with student journalists from elementary to high school interviewing presenters and sharing their thoughts (which you can read more about here!)

In addition to the hard work of all these amazing students, we were honored to welcome a host of inspiring guest speakers to last year’s conference, including Javits Center CEO Alan Steel, who has helped make great strides in incorporating sustainability into the Javits Center’s footprint, as well as Qiana Mickie, the first Executive Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Urban Agriculture, and NY City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. Students also heard from professionals like Jerri Taylor, the Director of Diversity in Career Pathways at the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, as well as Kaela Mainsah, Vice President of New York Power Authority’s Environmental Justice program, and Gotham Greens co-founder and sustainability entrepreneur Viraj Puri. Through connecting students with these contemporary leaders, we not only hope to inspire them with big dreams, but to empower them with connections to people who are making big change happen right now in New York City, just like the students are in our classrooms. 

We’re incredibly excited to share more about this year’s upcoming conference. Partner schools interested in attending, please check out our Youth Conference Info Sessions, available on our Upcoming Events Calendar. Spots are limited, so please reach out sooner rather than later! For more information about the Youth Conference and other previous conferences including past presentations, speakers, and more please visit our website.

From the Science Barge to Over 300 Schools: Celebrating 20 Years of Sustainability Science and Climate Education

Our story begins in 2004 when Dr. Ted Caplow founded New York Sun Works and created the Science Barge, a sustainable urban farm and greenhouse that floated along the Hudson River. This single instance of compact sustainability inspired what has now become our Hydroponic Classrooms, creating hands-on science and climate education opportunities for students across the five boroughs of New York City. 20 years later, we’ve created partnerships with over 300 schools, training hundreds of teachers who in turn teach tens of thousands of students. Although our organization has grown over time, our mission has always stayed the same: to bring sustainability science and climate education to NYC public schools. We’ve also added new goals along the way, however, like creating pathways to green careers for students in secondary and post-secondary schools. 

It’s been quite the journey for us since the Science Barge, and there have been some truly magical moments along the way. In 2010, we built the first Hydroponic Classroom at PS 333 the Manhattan School for Children, where our original greenhouse-based design shines against the New York cityscape. Shortly thereafter we began writing our own curriculum and hosting teacher training workshops as we took our first steps toward an expansive climate education. It wouldn’t be until 2017 though that our online Learning Center would see its official launch, where years of curriculum development would find a home for teachers to access throughout the school year. After planting the first seed with our Hydroponic Classroom at PS 333, we realized something about our greenhouse approach. Not every school has the rooftop space or logistical resources to accommodate this kind of structure, and while the views are stellar, it’s really the hydroponic systems and the hands-on learning they provide that make our program shine. 

To that end, we began adopting a new approach to school partnerships, innovating on the use of urban farming as a tool to teach the science behind sustainability. Alongside key city partners like the Department of Education and School Construction Authority, we envisioned Hydroponic Classrooms as part of the everyday school experience, built into normal indoor classrooms that can be retrofitted to suit the systems. We believe every student deserves quality sustainability science and climate education opportunities, and operating under that philosophy we’ve grown from just one school partner in 2010, to 86 school partners in 2018, 170 in 2020, and now over 300 in 2024. 

More recently, in response to the COVID pandemic, we created our STEM Hydroponic Kits, which provided students and teachers a way to continue growing their own plants while learning remotely. During the 2020-2021 school year, we delivered over 12,500 of these kits across the city, and converted existing school labs into full indoor farms, providing food for school communities and local pantries to help alleviate the impact of the pandemic. In 2022, we piloted our High School Workforce Development Program with support from the US Department of Agriculture, partnering with the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program to certify high school students in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). Since the success of this initial pilot, we’ve continued to connect our older students with potential green careers, additionally equipping them with marketable technical and job-seeking skills that will help them navigate the fast paced NYC job market. 

Last year, we held our 12th annual Youth Conference at the iconic Javits Center, where their green rooftop farm and garden lent weight to our mission of bringing nature back into the heart of New York’s classrooms. This was our first in-person conference after years of pandemic learning, and it was a joy to welcome over 1,000 students and teachers from across the five boroughs and metro NJ to our celebration of sustainability science. With our 13th Youth Conference on the horizon and recent expansion to post-secondary education with LaGuardia Community College, the stage is set for this year to be our best one yet, and we’re incredibly excited to share it with all of you. Like us, our community has grown and blossomed over recent years, and we’re incredibly grateful for your support. It’s been an amazing 20 years of climate science, and we look forward to building more learning opportunities for twenty more!

Cutting the Ribbon at LaGuardia Community College with Rep. Nydia Velázquez and Pres. Kenneth Adams

We are excited to celebrate one of the first post-secondary education partnerships of its kind at LaGuardia Community College! We commemorated this landmark expansion with LaGuardia CC’s President Kenneth Adams and long-time friend of NY Sun Works Rep. Nydia Velázquez, whose generosity helped create these critical climate science opportunities as well as at 19 other schools in NY’s 7th Congressional District. 

Expanding to the post-secondary level has been a goal of NY Sun Works as students of urban farming at the community college level can dive deeper into the science behind sustainability and make increasingly relevant connections to their long-term careers. This addition to our program also creates a more tangible path to green careers for young Farmer Scientists, incorporating climate-forward thinking into the hustle and bustle of the NYC job market. Harnessing higher level education for future career and academic opportunities connects students to the rapidly blossoming field of Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), which has taken root in many cities including the Big Apple. CEA-focused programs at the Community College level help high school students seeking employment break down barriers, pursue their passions, and join the growing green workforce. 

For over thirteen years, we’ve used hydroponic farming to reshape how NYC schools are teaching the science of sustainability and climate change. Through getting their hands dirty, connecting with nature, and growing plants from seed to harvest, students in our program are increasingly prepared to make sustainable choices and tackle a climate altered future. We’ve built Hydroponic Classrooms at over 300 partner schools across the five boroughs and beyond, empowering students as young as PreK and kindergarten to high school juniors and seniors. 

In a city where students often select their prospective career pathways as early as middle school, supporting CEA initiatives as they expand upward through the academic system is critical to creating long-term pathways for young people interested in creating an equitable, sustainable future. In fact, high school students who’ve graduated from our Urban Agriculture Workforce Development Program will be among the first to explore our labs at the community college level, which will empower them to dream, aspire, and achieve sustainably. Our hope is not only that these students will be encouraged by these opportunities, but that they’ll be inspired by local leaders like Rep. Velázquez who have worked tirelessly to understand the city’s need, allocate resources, and show up with feet on the ground when the time comes to make intentional, positive, long lasting change for a sustainable future. 

Students have already planted the first seeds at the LaGuardia Hydroponic Classroom, and we have more exciting post-secondary opportunities in store for this year.

Capital Funding: How it Works & Why it Matters – Deadlines Approaching

Capital funding is one of the most important ways schools in New York City can create new educational opportunities for their students. While this process is available to all schools throughout the NYC Department of Education (DOE), not everyone is aware of it or how to navigate submitting an application. Putting together application materials for large city grants can certainly be daunting, but we’re here to help schools interested in Hydroponic Classrooms (new, or upgrading existing) connect with their local officials, build the capacity to advocate for themselves, and create new pathways to climate education. The deadline for Bronx schools to submit their application to Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson is rapidly approaching – Due Friday (tomorrow!), January 19 at 5 pm, so the sooner you finalize your submission, the better! Other borough president and city council applications are due in February. It only takes a few minutes, and could be the difference in helping create the next generation of climate scientists, activists, and leaders at your school.

We’ve emphasized its importance, but what is capital funding anyway, and how does it actually work? Each year, members of the NY City Council as well as Borough Presidents receive a budget from which they’re allowed to allocate funds to public school projects throughout their districts. These funds are used in part to build new projects through the School Construction Authority, who have helped to renovate classroom spaces for more than half of our Hydroponic Classrooms throughout the years. These building projects not only help schools create opportunities for their students, but they also improve the quality of their education all around through room renovations and facility improvements. For schools with a limited budget, receiving funding for these projects can be the difference between a traditional and more limited science education, and an innovative, hands-on Hydroponic Classroom experience. And we’re here to help schools to apply. 

More than half of NYC Council members have voiced their support for our program through funding allocations, and we’ve seen a tremendous amount of success in helping schools learn the ropes of connecting with city government, writing grant proposals, and sharing the impact their hard work creates. Our Program Development team consistently meets with partner school administrators throughout the process of building a Hydroponic Classroom, from conception to installation, demystifying not only the capital funding process, but also other potential revenue streams for underserved schools like expense funding, which we apply to on behalf of our partner schools. To create the sustainable future our students deserve, we need all hands on deck, which is why we’ve adopted this multiplicative approach to climate education in hopes of inspiring students and educators alike to plant their roots, get involved, and make a meaningful difference where it’s needed most. 

For more information on capital funding, please reach out to our development team, and check out our NY Sun Works Info Sessions which will be held throughout the remainder of January and February. 

A Wish for Climate Education in the New Year

We’re kicking off the new year like many others: with big hopes for 2024. This year, we resolve to further our aim of bringing climate education to every student and tackling the most pressing issue of our time: climate change. It’s essential that we build the tools and opportunities students need to confidently tackle a climate-altered future. Studies have shown that early exposure to climate science subjects empowers students to strive for careers in sustainability, science, and technology. Our 300+ partner schools are teaching climate science in their Hydroponic Classrooms throughout the school year, but it’s essential that ALL students have access to climate education. We have an opportunity to make this a reality in New York State with important legislation recently introduced in Albany – and we encourage everyone to get involved to make sure it happens.

To that end, we recommend residents of New York State connect with the Climate and Resilience Education Taskforce (CRETF). CRETF has spearheaded critical climate education legislation: Senator Andrew Gournarde’s climate education bill S.278A and Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon’s companion Assembly bill A01559A. These bills propose establishing learning expectations on climate education and environmental justice in all public Pre-K, elementary, and secondary schools. The first interdisciplinary P-12 education bill in NY State, this bill also provides professional learning and ongoing support for educators, establishes an Office of Climate Education and Workforce Development, and centers equity and justice. Please check out CRETF’s Toolkit for Action and consider attending upcoming Albany Lobby Days. Residents of New York State can sign the memo of support, contact their Senator or Assemblymember via Action Alert, post graphics of support on social media, and most importantly, join a lobby day in Albany. Showing up is the first step in making meaningful change, and with feet on the ground and voices in the air, we’re feeling more confident than ever about the future of climate education. We’re growing the next generation of Farmer Scientists right here in New York City, but every child deserves a sustainable future, regardless of where they call home. Every post, donation, signature, and sign helps not just the NY Sun Works community, but the human community.

Like the plants nurtured in each Hydroponic Classroom, we’re growing onward and upward in 2024, with a host of exciting announcements to share over the next few weeks already. It takes a village to change the world, and as we all know, New York City is so much more than a village. Together, we can meet the moment on climate change, and provide the education our young people need to build the sustainable future they deserve. The best time to support a renewed vision for quality climate education was 20 years ago, but the next best time to get involved is right now. Please consider supporting not only our work bringing Hydroponic Classrooms to all NYC public schools, but also broader climate education initiatives that can help empower students not only in the big city, but beyond. With important legislation on the ballot, the time is now for New Yorkers to take action, get in touch with climate leaders, and through our actions, show the young people of today how to be the leaders of tomorrow. 

Tackling Energy on the First Official New York City DOE Climate Action Day!

Energy is what makes our bodies move, plants grow, and technology function. It plays a vital role in everyday living, and yet so little time is spent teaching students where the energy that powers our lives comes from, and how to manage it wisely. This year, the New York City Department of Education’s Office of Energy & Sustainability is taking on this topic and more with the introduction of Climate Action Days! Held four times each school year with themes including Energy, Water, Waste, and Green Space, Climate Action Days give students and teachers new opportunities to learn about the science behind sustainability and unite their communities in the name of climate education. This year’s first Climate Action Day is December 6th, and with a focus on energy, we’re thrilled to support this new and exciting occasion. 

Our spectacular Education Team has created a variety of tools and resources to help schools dive into the topics of conservation and responsible use of energy. In preparation for December 6th, we’ve shared resources including climate action-focused activities and lessons at our Election Day Professional Development Sessions, ranging in complexity from easy and accessible to involved and in-depth. These resources are tailored to each grade band ranging from K-12, in the hopes that challenging students’ presumptions about their energy usage and daily habits will inspire the critical thinking that leads to sustainable living. We want teachers to feel prepared and in-the-know, and begin the planning process early to ensure fun yet rigorous opportunities for climate education. 

Not only do we want this to be a day about education, but true to its name, we also want it to be about action. Through the activities shared, students and teachers will approach the subject of energy with inquisitive minds, with opportunities to improve their school’s relationship with energy on multiple levels. At the elementary school level, activities include learning about their school building’s energy rating and finding simple solutions to increase that rating. Similarly, high school students have the opportunity to research solar-powered cell phone charging stations and fundraise to purchase and build one at their school. These small but meaningful moments of collective climate action can make lasting change if done with consistency throughout the New York City DOE. By putting our full weight behind the first of many such days to come, our goal is to inspire a passion for climate education that extends beyond the Hydroponic Classroom. 

With more Climate Action Days on the horizon, we hope this will be the first of many celebrations that will empower the next generation of climate scientists, activists, and leaders. We’re excited to team up with the NYC DOE Department of Energy and Sustainability, as well as all our fellow sustainability partners throughout the city. Partner teachers who have not received our Climate Action Day resources should reach out to their respective Education Team members for access before December 6th. If you are a NY Sun Works Partner School and plan to participate in Climate Action Days, please tag us in social media posts using “@NYSunWorks” and use the hashtag #ClimateActionDays. For more information about Climate Action Days, visit the Sustainability Info Hub on the DOE’s official website.

NY Sun Works on Climate Action and Education at the Harvard Graduate School

This month, NY Sun Works was honored to be invited to the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) in Cambridge, Massachusetts for the 2023 Think Tank on Global Education (TGE): Climate Change Edition! Our Executive Director Manuela Zamora and Director of Education Liz McKoy traveled north to lead a session on Climate Action Partnerships, accompanied by Principal Irene Leon of PS89 Cypress Hills Community School in Brooklyn, one of our very first school partners. Chaired by Harvard professor and scholar of global citizenship education Fernando M. Reimers, this annual think-tank invites leaders in education to learn about, develop, and deliver powerful instruction based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Underscored by an urgent need to reimagine education in the wake of a global pandemic that forced teachers around the world to bring learning beyond their classrooms, our goal at this think-tank was to share the lessons we’ve learned from over 13 years of partnering with schools and teachers. With learning loss impacting students across ages and grade bands, the need for an authentic, relevant, and meaningful school experience is present now more than ever, and our Hydroponic Classrooms have proven effective at offering just that. Over 90% of NY Sun Works partner teachers surveyed shared that students in their classrooms are interested in and eager to engage with core sustainability science concepts. By offering students the chance to get their hands dirty, learn by doing, ask questions, and discover their own answers, we’ve been consistently able to re-engage those who otherwise may have academically struggled. 

One of the unique strengths that has helped shepherd our success is the adaptability of our program to the diverse landscape of New York City schools. With more than 300 school partners across all five boroughs as well as metro NJ, we’ve been able to reach and support learning communities of all shapes and sizes. With NYC, NY State, and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in mind, our curriculum is designed to meet students where they are and empower them to connect with the climate in a way that best suits their learning styles. By cultivating plants of their own, students are encouraged to emotionally invest in their school experience as they nurture their very own living things. Not only do students grow their own crops, but they also reap the benefits of their work through in-school harvests that invite parents and other community members to join in, creating a full cycle of learning and reciprocity. 

By speaking to our experience building sustainable partnerships in the largest public education system in the United States, we hope to inspire others to tackle the most pressing challenge of our time: climate change. Only through equitable, accessible opportunities for education and growth can we build the sustainable future our young people deserve. While we’ve been working hard to bring nature into the classrooms of NYC, we were thrilled to join others making a difference in communities of their own and feel inspired to continue driving meaningful change in the communities where it’s needed most. 

Building 20 New Hydroponic Classrooms in the Bronx with Rep. Ritchie Torres

This week, NY Sun Works was excited to celebrate the  addition of 20 new Bronx partner schools joining our community in the Hydroponic Classroom at the Theatre Arts Production Company School (TAPCo) in the Bronx, thanks to generous funding from Congressman Ritchie Torres (NY-15) and with support from Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. The Congressman joined Director of Development and Government Relations Megan Nordgrén, as well as principals from the schools receiving labs to celebrate the new hydroponic programs across the district. The farmer-scientist students of TAPCo also gave a tour of their hydroponic classroom and shared details about their experience learning about climate and sustainability science surrounded by the leafy green fruits of their labor. 

With concerns ranging from resource efficiency and extreme temperatures to air quality and high asthma rates, the Bronx as a borough has historically been excluded from wider environmental resiliency action. 30% of those living in the Bronx do so below the national poverty line as of 2022, compared to the state-wide average of 14%, with half of all Bronx buildings earning a D or lower grade in their energy and water efficiency, their pollution leading to negative health outcomes for residents. These systemic climate injustices cannot continue unaddressed, as Black and Brown communities like those in the Bronx are typically those who feel the effects of environmental degradation and climate change first and most severely. Environmental and climate injustices lead to the increased need for quality science education opportunities for Bronx students – in order to tackle the mistakes of the past, it’s imperative that we empower the young people who will lead our future with the education they need to make a meaningful difference.

“The Bronx is the most resilient and resourceful county in the United States, and the students of the Bronx should have access to the same educational opportunities that are available to students elsewhere in the city,” said U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “There is an urgent need to foster the next generation of leaders who have the capacity and will to confront the greatest challenge of our time – climate change. For me, this $800,000 is not an expenditure, it is an investment. We’re investing in our young people, we’re investing in their public education, and we’re investing in their leadership and environmental stewardship, which is needed now more than ever.” 

Through a hands-on, project-based approach to learning, our program helps students find purpose in their academic journeys, engaging students in the classroom experience and encouraging them to adopt the mantle of farmer-scientists. For many children & young adults who’ve spent their lives immersed in urban environments, food starts on a shelf at the corner store. Growing food seed-to-harvest directly in the classroom provides the unique experience of connecting with where food truly comes from and fosters a bond as students nurture a living, growing thing. With a consistent reason to re-invest in attending and engaging in their schooling, students in our program have seen improved educational outcomes in STEM subjects across grade bands and learning styles.

Thinking beyond education, the Bronx faces some of the highest rates of food insecurity in the nation, with food deserts continuing to impact residents’ ability to access fresh food. Spreading urban farming knowledge and techniques like hydroponic farming can connect local communities with a sustainable source of leafy greens and healthy veggies. Because our systems are built inside school classrooms, they are also able to produce a year-round yield, unlike traditional outdoor farming techniques, which are subject to fluctuating and seasonal weather. Using just a few vertical farming systems, students and their families can enjoy a regular supply of fresh, local produce at no personal cost. And while the limited systems of single classrooms cannot feed entire communities, they can inspire action and create change. Each new school partner acts as an individual seed, and the more we plant, the greener the educational landscape of NYC becomes. 

We’re excited to expand our Hydroponic Classroom program to more schools throughout the Bronx thanks to support from Rep. Torres, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand., and continue to make change in the worlds of climate injustice and quality science education where it’s needed most. With the goal of building a city-wide community of farmer-scientists equipped with the tools and knowledge to make a difference, we’re honored by the excitement of our Bronx school partners to get going and get growing. Climate change is the defining challenge of our time, and as such it falls to the leaders of our time to build the sustainable future our young people deserve.

Celebrating World Food Day with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

16 October 2023, New York City, NY – Melissa Laudenbach, CEA Operations and Curriculum Coordinator, joins the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization at the New York Botanical Garden.

On October 16th, the NY Sun Works team was honored to join the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) in celebration of World Food Day, a global occasion that serves to elevate discussions and unite voices around food systems and security on a worldwide stage. This year, representatives from UN member countries, the UN System, the New York Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, the NYBG, and NY Sun Works came together to share and learn about these critical topics and highlight the importance of leaving no one behind. By harnessing the power of collective action, World Food Day serves as a call to action, empowering us to work together toward a world free of hunger and one where regular access to healthy, fresh food is a guarantee for all. 

This year’s theme was “Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave no one behind,” which highlighted the connections between urban food systems and food security, and their linkages to water. In light of this, we were proud to have Melissa Laudenbach, our Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Operations and Curriculum Coordinator, speak on our behalf. As a member of both our Grow Support and Education Teams, Melissa shared her insights on the reality of implementing climate education and sustainability science in an urban environment like NYC. In accordance with this year’s theme and its emphasis on accessibility and inclusion, Melissa also spoke about how using hydroponics to equip high school juniors and seniors with CEA farming techniques can shape both their individual and collective futures. These marketable technical skills will allow them to pursue green careers in growing fields like sustainable urban agriculture, breaking down barriers to entry for students from low-income communities. She also shared how working with some of the over 1,000 partner teachers we have trained has had an exponential impact on the sustainability of New York’s future, resulting in quality climate education opportunities for tens of thousands of NYC students.

Guangzhou QU, FAO New York Liaison Office Director and Ms. Jennifer Bernstein, Chief Executive Officer and The William C. Steere Sr. President, NYBG react after posing for a photo with the speakers at the World Food Day (WFD) event at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG).

Through our work using water-based hydroponic farming to implement an engaging sustainability science curriculum in NYC public schools, we’ve learned firsthand the significance water can play in the production of food and food systems. Hydroponic farming uses up to 90% less water than traditional soil agriculture, and its vertical and space-conscious design allows it to easily adapt to the landscape of an urban environment. By connecting students with early and consistent exposure to sustainable technologies and the science that powers them, our goal is to equip students with the knowledge and experience they’ll need to navigate a climate-altered future. Whether they’re monitoring systems for their water levels, checking crops for pests, or recording their findings with pen and paper, students in our program are encouraged to foster a sense of scientific inquiry as they explore how the plants they’ve grown mirror the impacts of real-world climate change. In doing so, we hope they’ll feel emboldened to take action in their classrooms, households, and communities. 

As our community of sustainable farmer-scientists continues to grow to over 300 partner schools, the number of students we’re impacting has flourished as well. We envision a New York City where every school boasts a Hydroponic Classroom, and where farmer-scientists across the five boroughs learn about the environmental impacts of their daily decisions through the magic of hydroponic farming. Every student deserves a sustainable future, and with each new teacher trained, comes the thousands of students whose lives will be impacted by this new approach to STEM education. Climate change may impact each of us differently, but our responsibility to understand and protect our planet remains the same. And thanks to the success of occasions like World Food Day, we’re closer than we’ve ever been to the sustainable New York of tomorrow. 

Announcing the Partner Teacher Community Carnival!

On October 18th, NY Sun Works is excited to invite partner teachers from around NYC to join us for our first-ever Teacher Community Carnival! Hosted at Project Farmhouse in Union Square from 4:30 to 7:30 PM, come as our guest and enjoy food, beverages, and themed carnival games as we announce the official launch of our online Teacher Community on Circle. We’ll also shout out the teachers who received our NY Sun Works Educator Certification, and celebrate the successful start of another amazing school year. 

As our partner teachers continue cultivating both classroom crops and the farmer-scientists who grow them, we also want to foster a sense of community, personal growth, and positive engagement for the in-school educators who make our work possible. Over the coming months, NY Sun Works affiliated teachers can expect at least one opportunity each month to connect with others teaching in our program, either virtually or in person, through professional development opportunities, constructive workshops, and casual teacher connectivity events.

Every teacher in our program goes above and beyond for the sake of the students in their classroom, adding urban farming skill sets to their already extensive teaching tool repertoire. We want to honor the hard work, personal sacrifice, and genuine passion partner teachers have brought to our program by providing spaces for teachers to share stories, tips and tricks, and advice with peers who run hydroponic classrooms of their own. Our online Teacher Community will allow educators to participate in discussions that transcend not only their school, but grade level, borough, and pedagogical approach. 

Partner teachers interested in RSVP’ing should check their email inbox for further information and a registration link. We hope to see you there!