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This Bed-Stuy Elementary is Cultivating Green Thumbs

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries funded a new hydroponics lab for P.S. 23, the Carter G. Woodson Elementary School.
An example of a typical hydroponic lab in a public school built by NY Sun Works.

Students at a Bedford Stuyvesant elementary school can now learn all about hydroponic farming as part of science class, thanks to funding from U.S. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries. 

P.S. 23, the Carter G. Woodson Elementary School, now boasts a hydroponic lab where students can learn how to grow plants and food indoors. Rather than from the sun, the plants receive energy from LED lighting tailored specifically to the energy needs of the plants. Instead of using soil, seeds are planted in soil-free growth mediums, according a statement released by NY Sun Works, a nonprofit that builds hydroponic farm labs in schools. 

The new lab is one of 12 hydroponic farming classrooms in Brooklyn public schools funded by Jeffries, who secured $500,000 in fiscal year 2023 as part of his new federal funding for education programs and infrastructure. 

“I could not be more proud to lead the P.S. 23 Community," said P.S. 23 Principal Joseph Mattina. "The students finally have access to a true STEAM Education and the resources they deserve to do so successfully."

The 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.

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.