On the DeWitt Clinton high school lives a new large farm that can grow 10,000 pounds of produce a year. Hydroponics is a way to skip the soil, sub in a different material to support the roots of the plant, and grow crops directly in nutrient-rich water, according to the Princeton University report on the future of farming. Also known as indoor vertical farming, it grows produce stacked in trays in a greenhouse.
DeWitt Clinton is not the only farm that produces new and improved produce in the northwest Bronx. Mi Oh My Hydroponic Farms, which is run by Joel Mejia, grows mushrooms and organic microgreens on his West 238th Street “farm.” The “genesis really came from me wanting to show my young daughter how to grow food,” Mejia said in an entrepreneur meeting at Manhattan College in April.
Teens for Food Justice has had the same mission at Clinton since 2017. The nonprofit is a youth-led movement to end food insecurity through school-based hydroponic farming. Partners with the city’s education department, Teens for Food Justice operates in 19 New York City schools and serves 10 local communities.
“My students and I helped build the hydroponic farm that replaced a classroom where I once taught,” said Ray Pultinas, former DeWitt Clinton teacher and the school’s first sustainability coordinator.
“In our case, it’s free, affordable, fresh produce because prices have gone up so much,” Soll said. “But we know that there’s been an uptick in demand.”
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