NY Sun Works announced the opening of a new hydroponic farm classroom at PS 23, The Carter G. Woodson Elementary School, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. The celebration featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony with school leadership, teachers, students, and families. The lab is part of a $500,000 Brooklyn expansion project across public schools funded by Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).
“We are excited to welcome PS 23 to our cohort of Brooklyn schools and provide hands-on climate and sustainability education through state-of-the-art hydroponics technology for the city’s young learners,” said NY Sun Works Executive Director Manuela Zamora. “Our urban farms strive to encourage students to explore opportunities and experiences in STEM. We are thankful to Congressman Hakeem Jeffries for funding a Brooklyn expansion and making the building and maintenance of the lab at PS 23 a reality. We are committed to empowering a new generation of scientists, climate advocates, and community leaders to create solutions to local and global resource challenges.”
“I could not be more proud to lead the PS 23 Community. The students finally have access to true STEAM Education and the resources they deserve to do so successfully. This could not have been accomplished without the external funding from our elected officials; we thank them for investing in OUR community,” said PS 23 Principal Joseph Mattina.
PS 23 is one of 12 hydroponic farming classrooms in Brooklyn public schools funded by the House Democratic Leader Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) to provide a comprehensive curriculum to teach science, sustainability, nutrition, and climate education through the lens of urban farming. The Congressman secured $500,000 in fiscal year 2023 as part of his new federal funding for education programs and infrastructure.
“I am thrilled that our efforts to provide a $500,000 Community Project Funding grant for hydroponic farming have brought about the opportunity to expose the students at Carter G. Woodson Elementary School to the wonders of Mother Nature,” said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08). “I look forward to continuing to provide as many young people as possible the means to experience urban farming because these students are our future sustainable scientists, environmentalists, urban farmers, climate change activists, and leaders. I’m confident that even as we grapple with a climate crisis, because of these brilliant young people, the best is yet to come for our community, our city, and our country.”
In Brooklyn, NY, Sun Works currently has 146 partner schools, with another 26 labs at new schools to be installed this school year. The nonprofit opened its first lab in 2010 and has grown today to serve more than 120,000 students across 300 public schools in the New York City metro area. NY Sun Works delivers inquiry-based K-12 science and sustainability education through the lens of urban farming. The goals are to support each school’s long-term capacity to deliver a high-quality science program, optimize students’ learning experience in the hydroponic classroom, and expand access to fresh produce for students and their families while preparing students to exceed NYC’s science standards. Hydroponic technology is farming that enables the cultivation of plants in an indoor environment. Rather than from the sun, plants receive energy from LED lighting that is tailored specifically to the energy needs of the plants. Instead of using soil, seeds are planted in soil-free growth mediums.
“We were thrilled to see the new facilities today at P.S. 23K, a school we are proud to fund and support. The new hydroponics lab represents the science education that the children of our district deserve and marks a standard to which we should elevate all of our schools,” said New York City Council Member Chi Osse.
Partner schools like PS 23 The Carter G. Woodson Elementary School will receive ongoing professional development training for science educators and weekly visits from a hydroponic specialist to guide teachers in hydroponic systems maintenance, provide planting, harvest, and produce distribution support, and clean, prep, and troubleshoot systems.