Forget swapping Doritos and pudding: Elementary school kids in the Big Apple can start growing their own lunches. The Manhattan School for Children recently opened a crazy-innovative rooftop greenhouse that’ll produce up to 8,000 pounds of veggies. Despite its crunchability, the main purpose of the rooftop garden is actually to teach the kids about science:
Explosions always grab attention. But how many kids voluntarily eat something weird and green and leafy? (“We really, really, really loved the leaf,” one kindergartner said near the end of the mizuna lesson.)
How it works: The garden is hydroponic — a shmancy word for growing plants in water without dirt. The New York Times reports that it feeds the plants captured rainwater, also incorporating solar panels and a worm bin. The Epoch Times adds that nitrates in fish poop from tilapia below the plants will fertilize ’em.
NY Sun Works has done this before: The nonprofit that helped the school formerly ran an incredibly efficient floating greenhouse called the Science Barge, says The Economist. NY Sun Works wants to bring greenhouses to a total of 100 New York City schools.
Gardens legally can only be 1/3 of a roof, writes The Epoch Times, but the school got a waiver — and a council member is trying to make it easier for others to do the same.
But is it scalable? JustMeans.com details how private donors supplied most of the $800,000 price tag, adding that — despite the potential for lunch and learning — its cost puts it out of reach for most schools.