Atop the Javits Center in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen sits one of the nation’s largest rooftop farms. Its 6.75 acres are home to manicured rows of leafy greens, an apple orchard, honeybee hives, and — on a sunny spring day last May — 991 New York City students from 35 public schools across the five boroughs. Normally, a situation involving a thousand children surrounded by a million bees would be cause for concern, but this is cause for celebration. These kids are budding scientists, and they’ve spent the last year immersed in hydroponic farming, growing plants in nutrient-rich, water-based solutions. And now they’ve gathered to present their findings.
This event is the culmination of a year of hands-on science education made possible through New York Sun Works, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation-supported non-profit that builds innovative hydroponic labs in schools to teach the science of sustainability through urban farming. For almost 20 years, NY Sun Works has partnered with schools in underserved communities to deliver high-quality science education — and inspire the next generation of environmental innovators.