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.