March 29, 2016
by Megan Nordgrén
It no longer seems strange to hear that children in New York City public schools are growing their own food; in fact, it has almost become the new norm. Of the 1800 public schools in the city, nearly one-third now have school gardens registered with GrowNYC
, and this number has been growing by 75-100 gardens every year since the registry was begun in 2011. This agricultural trend has found broad support from many organizations and foundations providing resources and funding, as well as from public officials. One outspoken proponent of school gardens, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, announced that she would dedicate up to $1 million in capital funding for “innovative school gardening projects”
during this fiscal year.
The gardens are as varied as the city neighborhoods, ranging from small containers, to indoor hydroponic systems to high-tech rooftop greenhouses. A new trend is indoor aeroponic gardening, where many plants can grow in a vertical tower
. Small indoor systems such as these have several critical benefits: they allow schools to “start small” and test out a new gardening program; they allow for year-ground growing with grow lights; and they give schools with no viable outdoor space an opportunity to participate in growing their own food.