November 3, 2022
NY Sun Works Brings the Harvest Season to NYC Public Schools!
Our Harvest Program is on the rise, and just in time for the autumn season! Engaging families with classroom learning and expanding access to healthy, fresh produce, this program is integral to our mission of delivering high-quality sustainability science education. Through take-home games, discussion cards, and regular distributions of leafy greens grown in our farm classrooms, the program extends science-focused learning beyond the classroom. By connecting our message about the role of urban farming in building sustainable, climate-resilient communities with students’ families, we’re able to support healthy eating and increase food security, while also integrating science into students’ daily lives.
The Harvest Program has the additional benefit of promoting parent involvement with their child’s education. Several studies have shown that students have better academic outcomes and improved social-emotional well-being when their parents are engaged with their education and curriculum. The produce and discussion cards included in this lesson encourage at-home conversations about healthy eating, where food comes from, and other science topics, helping students build confidence and self-esteem. As students share what they’re learning in school, their families feel increasingly connected to the classroom even when they can’t be physically present at the school, and are able to incorporate their own funds of knowledge into the learning experience.
During the 2021-2022 school year, the NY Sun Works Education Team piloted an updated version of the Harvest Program. Working with eight schools, all funded by the New York Power Authority, the team led professional development sessions and teacher training workshops, as well as assisted teachers with harvesting. Through a collaborative effort between the NY Sun Works’ Education and Greenhouse Support teams, we were able to gather data from principals, teachers, and students on the successes and challenges of The Harvest Program throughout its pilot year. We are excited to use this data to expand our efforts to all of our partner schools during the 2022-2023 school year, and make the Harvest Program and its many benefits a staple of NY Sun Works programming.