NY Sun Works: Hydroponics & the 21st Century Classroom


Is the future of farming in NYC public schools?


NY Sun Works

NY Sun Works is a non-profit organization that builds innovative science labs in urban schools. Through their Greenhouse Project Initiative, they use hydroponics and aquaponics  farming technology to educate students (K through 12th grade) and teachers about science, the environment, and sustainability.

What is the Greenhouse Project?

The Greenhouse Project is a program of NY Sun Works inspired by The Science Barge: a floating, sustainable urban farm located on the Hudson River. It was the first demonstration of a high-yield, commercial-grade urban food production facility which was powered by wind and solar energy, heated with vegetable oil, and irrigated by rainwater.

NY Sun Works The Greenhouse Project - Rooftop Greenhouse
NY Sun Works The Greenhouse Project – Rooftop Greenhouse

In every Greenhouse Project classroom—today in 26 public schools in the five boroughs of NY and counting—students participate in choosing growth media; selecting and planting seeds; combining plant nutrients and water; monitoring plant growth; monitoring NFT systems, VIG systems, vine crops systems, fish growth, and the fish farm; harvesting; composting; controlling pests through integrative pest management practices; measuring captured rainwater; predicting the weather; and more. At the same time, students are learning topics in biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences, as well as the living environment. The comprehensive content of the curriculum is therefore conveyed through the lens of urban farming.   This innovative way of learning science is particularly effective for understanding today’s issues of global concern: food production, water resource management, biodiversity, conservation, pollution, waste management, efficient land/rooftop use, and climate change. The Greenhouse Project introduces students to cutting-edge technology and connects science and the environment through sustainable urban farming.  NY Sun Works and the Greenhouse Project Initiative are preparing youth today to become the urban citizens of the future!  

Successful tilapia farming by Greenhouse Project students #greenhouseproject#A photo posted by NY Sun Works (@nysunworks) on

What do the students do with all the food?

One of the amazing results of having hydroponics and aquaponics in schools is the vast amount of fresh produce and fish.  The schools used the food as:

  • •a healthy treat for students
  • ingredients in cooking classes
  • running a school produce store
  • •giving fresh produce to friends, teachers and parents
  • •donating to charities
  • •even bartering with restaurants for other food items

For more information about NY Sun Works and The Greenhouse Project, please visit www.nysunworks.org.



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