CLINTON HILL – At an event kicking off a $7 million initiative to promote urban farming education in Brooklyn classrooms, Borough President Eric Adams joined students of Clinton Hill’s PS 56 Lewis H. Latimer and Urban Assembly Unison School on Tuesday to tour the site of a “future state-of-the-art greenhouse.”
As part of Adams’ “Growing Brooklyn’s Future” initiative, the two schools will receive $2 million to create a courtyard facility that will have a growing capacity of 25,000 pounds of produce annually. The new facility will provide additional educational space alongside an existing third-floor classroom farm on the campus. The project will be a partnership with Teens for Food Justice, a non-profit organization that teaches teens about healthy eating and growing food.
“Young people across the borough will now have the opportunity to learn about growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and plants that will empower them to make healthy choices, taking care of their bodies and minds as well as our shared environment,” said Adams, who adopted a strict vegan diet after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2016.
“This is about keeping Brooklyn’s kids at the forefront of innovation and growing their futures. ‘Growing Brooklyn’s Future’ is a green revolution that starts in our classrooms and winds up changing lives in living rooms across our borough, leading to healthier children and families,” he continued.
“I was proud to allocate more than $1 million toward this state-of-the-art greenhouse that I believe will cultivate a deeper appreciation for our environment and urban agriculture amongst the next generation.” Council Member Laurie Cumbo (District 35) said at Tuesday’s event.
Adams launched “Growing Brooklyn’s Future” in 2015, awarding 12 schools $167,000 each to build out hydroponic (growing plants in nutrients instead of soil) classrooms furnished by non-profit organization New York Sun Works. These schools were located in neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn, including Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick, Canarsie, Cypress Hills, and East New York.
The program has since supported greenhouse studies by funding rooftop gardens, green roofs, urban farms, greenhouses, and a hydroponics lab and urban sustainability center at various schools across the borough.
Promoting urban farming education in Brooklyn schools is part of Adams’ goal to address rising cases of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol in many parts of the borough, particularly in central and eastern Brooklyn—neighborhoods considered “food deserts” due to their lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables as well as to natural food sources.