June 10, 2021
School Harvests Across New York
School closures and social distancing requirements made it hard for students to visit their hydroponic labs this year. But in many of our partner schools, the hydroponic systems were still going and the delicious harvests continued to be put to good use. Thanks to generous support from our funding partners, hundreds of pounds of healthy, fresh greens were shared with students, their families, school staff, as well as local food pantries and community organizations, to support food security during a difficult time. Shared one community organization, “The greens were just FABULOUS and oh so fresh. Our clients were so happy to receive some healthy options during this time, especially our seniors.” Read on for more on this initiative.
At PS 20 Anna Silver Elementary on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, regular harvests of basil, lettuce and snap peas, along with the occasional beautiful (and edible!) marigolds and dahlias, were shared with the school’s students and their families throughout the school year. PS 20, along with four other Manhattan schools, were able to keep their hydroponic systems going and distribute their harvests thanks to generous funding from Borough President Gale Brewer’s Manhattan Community Award Program Grant, which supported growing food for the school community during this year of Covid-19 challenges.
In Astoria, Queens, PS 171’s hydroponics teacher harvested nearly 20 lbs of greens, including kale, Swiss chard, arugula, basil and parsley, in the month of April alone! The Vine Crop System was also overflowing with approximately 40 lbs of tomatoes and cucumbers and the delicious, fresh greens were shared with students, their families, and the school community. Funding to run the lab at PS 171, along with 7 other Queens schools, came from the Queens Delegation of the NY City Council, with particular support from former City Councilmember Costa Constantinides.
The New York Power Authority (NYPA)’s support has been instrumental throughout the pandemic for hydroponic lab operations and the distribution of Home Hydroponic Kits at 15 schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.
Additionally, a grant from the US Department of Agriculture has helped to keep hydroponic labs running in schools in the East New York and Canarsie sections of Brooklyn. At High School for Medical Professions, one large harvest of greens including collards, kale and chard, was donated to the Children of the Light food pantry and other harvests were enjoyed by the school community.
Thank you to our partner schools, to our amazing Greenhouse Support Team for keeping the hydroponics systems running and the crops growing, and especially to Gale Brewer, Costa Costantinides, The New York City Council, NYPA, and the USDA for helping to make this important work possible in such a challenging year.