Rooftop Greenhouse Offers Living Science Lesson for New York City Students (With Video)

The streets of New York City may be just as urban as ever, an unending view of steel and concrete, but for the 700 students of PS 333 on New York City's Upper Westside, a trip to the farm is only a few stair flights away.

Located on the third floor roof of the Manhattan School for Children is an environmental farming Mecca.  Rows and rows of organic kale, arugula, basil, broccoli, beets, cabbage and lettuce are growing and thriving in a state of the art environmentally sustainable greenhouse tended to each week by the hundreds of PS 333 students who are learning urban farming and environmental science in a one of a kind hands on classroom.

The greenhouse garden designed by Kiss+Cathcart Architects and New York Sun Works is the brainchild of The Greenhouse Project, a consortium of New York City public school parents concerned about elevating their children's science education.

Unveiled in February 2011 with a "Lettuce-Cutting" ceremony for educators, parents and students, the unique classroom concept caught the attention of MXenergyTV producers who decided to feature the project on their "green-living" program, "Attainable Sustainables."

"This project is so unique in its design, creation and sustainability," says Marjorie Kass, MXTV host and MXenergy Managing Director.  "We felt it was important to share this story with our viewers and hopefully inspire others to rethink what is possible in environmental education."

The Greenhouse Project aspires to complete a total of 100 similar classrooms on the roofs of other New York City schools.  

As Manuela Zamora, Co-Founder of The Greenhouse Project, told MXTV producers, the purpose is much larger than teaching children to grow cabbages, "This is about using urban farming to teach environmental science to our students."

The rooftop laboratory is a model for collecting and recycling wastewater and utilizes an evaporative cooling system much more efficient that traditional air conditioning.  The design allows the project to not only be sustainable but reduce energy bills as well.  The children's hands-on education is taken one step further with classroom composting bins which can then be utilized in the rooftop garden.

The segment, "A Greenhouse Effect," featuring the rooftop classroom can be found in the MXTV archives at  MXenergy as a vehicle to educate and inform viewers about the issues of energy efficiency, sustainability and green living created MXTV in the fall of 2010.  The On Demand channel can be found on Cablevision iO Channel 654 in the Northeast United States

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