Councilmember Mark Treyger announced Wednesday that he has secured $4.6 million to fund a greenhouse at Rachel Carson High School, 521 West Ave.
The announcement was made during a Zoom conference with faculty, students and elected officials.
The greenhouse will include an edible garden where students and staff will be able to grow fruits and vegetables from seed to table.
Treyger said Coney Island lacks adequate access to healthy and fresh produce and has been hit especially hard by the COVID pandemic.
“When you lack healthy food options, that also leads to disparate health outcomes,” Treyger said. “This [greenhouse] goes a long way in breaking barriers and improving access to community members who are geographically isolated and a part of the outer borough.”
The greenhouse will be used as part of a curriculum centered around sustainability, environmental studies and green-based career planning for students.
Stephen McNally, principal of Rachel Carson High School, said the project is an incredible opportunity for the students.
“As educators, we are constantly trying to find ways to make learning relevant for our young people,” McNally said. “This greenhouse project is a game-changer. It not only gives us the opportunity to make learning relevant for our students but to make it real. Our students will literally have a chance to get their hands dirty and be active participants in the messy process of learning.”
The greenhouse will help students learn about sustainable urban farming, healthy eating habits and the impact of food insecurities on neighborhood and communities.
“Between this greenhouse and our hydroponic and aquaponics labs, our students are going to grow healthy food that will not only support members of our school community but the Coney Island community at large,” McNally added.
Hannah O’Leary, science research teacher, said the greenhouse will help the students solve real-world problems and effect change in their communities.
“Our hydroponics lab and this new greenhouse classroom will allow us to do this on a school-wide scale rather than in the small program we’ve been running the last few years,” she said.