March 16, 2023
High School Students Prepare for Futures in Urban Agriculture
We believe New York City high school students are some of the luckiest young people in our country. With a host of iconic educational and professional institutions across a variety of fields and industries, the students of today have more avenues than ever to pursue and achieve goals that lie close to their hearts. However, it’s no secret that children and young adults from low-income communities are often excluded from these incredible opportunities. While technology and innovation have brought about fantastic change, this is one of the modern day’s great educational injustices. So what can we do to solve it?
Last year, we piloted our Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Program, which took 32 students from three NYC public schools in Brooklyn and Queens and equipped them with marketable career readiness skills and official certification in seed-to-harvest hydroponic farming. Our goal is to open new pathways for young climate leaders to enter a growing sector of the green economy. With funding from the US Department of Agriculture, and culminating in an exciting event hosted by NYC Mayor Eric Adams at Gracie Mansion, our program was a resounding success, and we are pleased to announce that this spring we’re continuing to offer professional certification and training opportunities for tomorrow’s urban agriculture leaders.
In January 2023, we were joined by eight eager elective classes of high school farmer scientists. During our new Controlled Environmental Agriculture elective, students are guided through hands-on studies and practical exams by their hydroponic classroom teachers, and supported by the expert Greenhouse Support Team at NY Sun Works. As a continuation of last year’s summer pilot, they’ll also have the opportunity to visit commercial hydroponic sites like Brooklyn Grange, as well as explore post-secondary education opportunities at community colleges such as LaGuardia Community College. Additionally, participants are invited to the inaugural CEA career and college networking event scheduled for May 24th at the Javits Center immediately following our annual Youth Conference, for professional networking opportunities.
We are incredibly proud of the work students have put into pursuing careers in urban CEA, as well as that of our Education Team who has innovated this new approach to education and professional development. This program is the first of its kind in the city, and as we continue to grow, we hope to also continually deliver quality STEM and climate education opportunities to students and young adults with the drive to tackle sustainability issues.
If you’re interested in bringing our CEA Elective Course to your school, or have any questions about it, please contact Education Specialist and Program Manager Hannah Luna.