Public environmental education center is changing course to provide fresh produce for food insecure residents and virtual programming for remote learner
While the Science Barge is on PAUSE as a public education center, the facility is uniquely positioned to address growing issues of food insecurity in Southwest Yonkers. The Science Barge utilizes hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic systems to grow produce faster than soil-based farming. Its growing systems, combined with its unique nutrient cycling system, enable the organization to quickly grow over an acre of food in a much shorter growing season.
Instead of growing small numbers of many types of produce for educational purposes, Groundwork is changing course to grow fewer varieties at a much larger scale to support increasingly food insecure residents in our community.
Starting on May 15th, the organization will focus on growing organic, pesticide free, high yield varieties of greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes that are increasingly difficult to source locally, responding to a need Groundwork is uniquely equipped to address. To support growth at scale and extend the growing season into colder months, a new greenhouse heating system was secured for the Science Barge in 2019.
Partners on this effort include the YWCA Yonkers, which provides shelter, meals and other critically needed wrap around services for up to fifty women each day, and night. All produce grown on the Science Barge will be donated to the YWCA and other communities in need.
“We all are trying to digest the changes in our lifestyles that have been so greatly impacted recently, and what that means for the future” said Charlie Knight, Executive Director of the YWCA Yonkers. “We are now forced to change the way in which we have previously provided services, however we must not abandon our mission in the process. The YWCA Yonkers has a long history of assisting our most vulnerable populations with resources and education that assist in removing barriers, and partnering with Groundwork Hudson Valley to provide healthy food for our women aligns perfectly with our mission to empower all women. This is an exciting opportunity that is especially needed now as we see in real time the importance of good nutrition as a major component of healthy living and added longevity.”
Groundwork is also transitioning its sustainability and climate change educational programming, previously delivered through field trips on the Science Barge, into virtual platforms to support teachers, parents, and caregivers in need of remote learning opportunities for young people. Please contact Sustainability Education Manager, Joel Rodriguez, at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our these exciting opportunities
“While we regret not being open to the public as an educational destination, Groundwork is grateful for the ability to repurpose a unique facility like the Science Barge, and for our incredibly responsive team that is working to quickly to adapt to our community’s needs in the age of Coronavirus. We are especially proud of our partnership with YWCA Yonkers, which works every day to ensure our most vulnerable communities receive critical services that are more important than ever in these challenging times,” said Brigitte Griswold, Executive Director of Groundwork Hudson Valley.
The Science Barge is located at 99 Dock Street, Yonkers, NY 10701. For more information on booking a school or community group for virtual programs, call 914-375-2151 or visit groundworkhv.org.