July 28, 2023
Representatives Adriano Espaillat and Don Bacon Introduce the Harvesting Knowledge Act
NY Sun Works is proud to announce our support for the recent Harvesting Knowledge Act, which was reintroduced by Representatives Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) and Don Bacon (NE-02) for the 118th Congress. In line with our mission and work with soon to be over 350 schools across New York City, this legislation aims to support urban agriculture education – a critical yet often overlooked curriculum that will jumpstart students’ interest and careers in sustainable agricultural technology.
“As we begin negotiations for the Farm Bill, nurturing student access to STEM education and urban agriculture will be critical to the health and sustainability of our future,” said Rep. Espaillat. “My bill aims to help prepare the next generation of leaders in agriculture by training our future biologists, nutritionists, and climate change scientists—especially in urban areas with limited access to farms. By increasing access to new technologies and skills today, our students and their families will have the resources they need to help secure a sustainable future in the face of the daily challenges of climate change.”
The Harvesting Knowledge Act would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to include indoor agricultural technology as an activity that supports well-rounded education, as well as provide grant funding for related projects. This bill will also provide a dedicated funding stream for urban agriculture education, focus on including hydroponic and aquaponic technologies in classroom education, and introduce hands-on activities to cultivate an interest in biology, nutrition, and sustainability subjects.
“As a kid who grew up on the farm, I am continually amazed at new indoor farming techniques and believe that giving students a hands-on learning experience in that area will continue to help hydroponics and aquaponics grow,” said Rep. Bacon. “These grants will help spread this to students who may never have had the opportunity to learn about this exciting form of agriculture.”
Since our organization’s inception, we’ve utilized cutting-edge urban farming technology to re-engage NYC students in their education, building key skills in observation, data analysis, and critical thinking while increasing their awareness of the climate challenges facing us today. This work is especially critical in an urban setting, where young people from low-income neighborhoods have historically faced increased barriers to entry when considering green careers and post-secondary education opportunities, as well as decreased access to healthy foods and the science behind what makes them so nutritious. These same neighborhoods often overlap with Black and Brown communities, which have also been excluded from similar early climate resiliency efforts.
“I am pleased to support this initiative to codify the use of hydroponic farming technology as a STEM teaching tool. This legislation also serves as an important step towards ensuring food access through sustainable farming, as hydroponic technology can provide immediate access to healthy, fresh, and nutritious food in every neighborhood of our cities,” said NY Sun Works Executive Director Manuela Zamora. “After more than 10 years of bringing hydroponic farming technology into New York City public school classrooms and working with students to grow food year-round as they learn about sustainability science, nutrition, and climate education, I applaud this effort to also train the next generation of farmers to meet the challenges of our time.”
We’re honored to continue to partner with leaders and public figures who understand the urgency behind implementing quality climate science education in our public schools and are deeply grateful to have a seat at the table for this critical conversation, now more than ever. Every child deserves a sustainable future, and it’s up to us as the leaders of today to empower our young people with the knowledge, passion, and opportunities they need to flourish tomorrow.