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The 13th Annual Youth Conference – Discovering Sustainability Science at the Javits Center

May 9, 2024

The 13th Discovering Sustainability Science Youth Conference is just a few weeks away, and we’re more excited than ever to welcome hundreds of students from across NYC back to the iconic Javits Center for the second year in a row. While last year was a welcome return to in-person learning after holding virtual conferences throughout the pandemic, this year’s conference promises more fun and climate connections than ever. Over the coming weeks, we’ll share more sneak peeks about the conference including guest speaker highlights, previous student presentations, and more, so get ready for a May full of learning and sustainability. 

At last year’s conference, we were joined by over 900 students and educators, with presenters ranging from 2nd to 12th graders taking the stage to share their work. With topics ranging from homemade hydroponics and automated farming to urban green space and vermicomposting, it was wonderful to hear insights from so many Farmer Scientists’ perspectives. Through exploring environmental science subjects, students made meaningful connections between urban farming experiments and their impacts on current climate challenges. Additionally, high school students in our Urban Agriculture Workforce Development Program attended our first ever college and career fair at the Youth Conference, making professional connections with organizations and universities while receiving resume reviews from our Associate Board. And supporting all this: the Youth Press Team, made up of students from our partner schools, lent their journalistic perspectives to the event through interview-based articles. This year, we’re inviting students from across the five boroughs to join us again, where the joy of learning meets the science of sustainability. 

The Youth Conference is more than a simple gathering of students; it’s an important opportunity for Farmer Scientists from separate schools to come together and share in the experience of learning in a Hydroponic Classroom. While we proudly support over 300 partner schools across NYC and beyond, it can be challenging for educators to meaningfully connect with one another between their day-to-day activities. The Youth Conference presents a unique opportunity for students of all ages to see that they aren’t alone in the work they’re doing, and feel part of a growing, green community. It’s also a chance for young New Yorkers to hear from STEM and urban farming professionals, and take inspiration from their real-life journeys into the worlds of climate science and sustainable agriculture. 

This year’s Youth Conference will once again be kicked off by Javits Center CEO Alan Steel, who has helped the renowned New York City convention center innovate on urban sustainability through projects like their 1-acre rooftop farm and 6.75 acres of other rooftop green space. We’ll soon be sharing more insights into what to expect from this year’s conference, so stay tuned for more opportunities to get involved, including a live stream of select presentations for those who can’t attend. We’ll also be sharing a recording of the full conference after the event. To learn more about the 2024 Youth Conference and past conferences, please visit our website. Read this week’s full newsletter here.


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