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Rep. Nydia Velázquez Joins NY Sun Works in Celebrating 20 New Hydroponic Classrooms

February 16, 2023

This week, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez joined NY Sun Works in announcing the expansion of our climate science and sustainability education program in Brooklyn and Queens. Through new state-of-the-art hydroponic farms at 20 schools throughout New York’s 7th Congressional District, we’re teaming up to improve STEM education in NYC public schools, equipping tomorrow’s climate leaders with the learning opportunities they deserve today. Rep. Velázquez, NY Sun Works Executive Director Manuela Zamora, and Director of Program Development Megan Nordgren celebrated the $800,000 investment with principals from the 20 schools receiving new farm classrooms: J.H.S. 050 John D. Wells, P.S. 110 The Monitor, P.S. 67 Charles A. Dorsey, P.S. 132 The Conselyea School, P.S. 145 Andrew Jackson, P.S. 151 Lyndon B. Johnson, P.S. 250 George H. Lindsay, P.S., 299 Thomas Warren Field, Lyons Community School, Benjamin Banneker Academy, Bridges: A School for Exploration and Equity, William Cullen Bryant High School, International High School at LaGuardia Community College, P.S. 76 William Hallet, I.S. 204 Oliver W. Holmes, P.S. 60 Woodhaven, P.S. 120 Carlos Tapia, I.S. 125 Thom J. McCann Woodside, LaGuardia Community College, and P.S. 86 The Irvington.

“We are honored to be part of this historic investment in Brooklyn and Queens to bring this expansion to fruition that will not only enrich the science curriculum in schools but empower and inspire students to pursue careers in STEM,” said Manuela Zamora, NY Sun Works Executive Director. “Congresswoman Velázquez is committed to bringing hands-on 21st century urban farming education, climate and food justice to the forefront to thousands of public school students. Our cutting edge technology teaches students responsible stewardship, the ability to grow their own food from seed to harvest and share fresh, nutritious produce with their community.”

Reaching thousands of students each year, partner schools receiving this investment will also benefit from ongoing professional development training to help ensure STEM educators can easily incorporate NY Sun Works curriculum into their new classrooms. The curriculum, which aligns with NYC and NY State standards, covers topics across different science disciplines through the lens of sustainability, environmental education, and climate awareness. Additionally, indoor farming experts from NY Sun Works will visit each classroom weekly to guide and support teachers in maintaining their hydroponic systems and the budding plants therein. 

“I’m proud to have fought to bring these funds to my district to enhance access to STEM education and provide students with the opportunity to learn more about local food production, healthy eating, climate, and sustainability,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (NY-07). “Greenhouse Hydroponic farming is not only a financially wise investment, with excellent educational returns, but will also create a sound foundation in young students of self-sufficiency, respect for the environment, and a desire for healthy living and nutrition.”

By bringing our program to more schools, we hope to further integrate the sustainability mindset into NYC communities, engaging families in the classroom experience through take-home harvests of fresh produce, while providing the climate resilience opportunities communities of color are so often excluded from. In a post-COVID world, we need to re-engage our young people in the learning process, and hands-on, project-based learning is a perfect way to do exactly that. With partners like Rep. Velázquez, we have full confidence we can make our dream of a greener NYC a reality. 


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