QUEENS, NY – The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is partnering with the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens to expand a rooftop garden that will provide intergenerational learning opportunities for students and community members. The project directly advances the Power Authority’s longstanding commitment to support disadvantaged communities within New York, including the development of urban agriculture to create a more sustainable state.
NYPA President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said: “The Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens has been a wonderful partner over the years and the Power Authority is always eager to team with local organizations to engage community members and young people in sustainability, STEM and climate action learning opportunities. With the expansion of this rooftop garden, students and community members of all ages will be able to learn about sustainable food production and environmental science, resulting in benefits for the local community and advancing the state’s sustainability goals.”
Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens CEO Costa Constantinides said: “Thank you to NYPA and President and CEO Justin Driscoll for your commitment to Western Queens and your support of the young people at Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens. NYPA’s exciting investment at Sky Farm LIC will allow us to provide hands-on learning in healthy eating to our students, who often do not have access to healthy fruits and vegetables in their daily lives. Integrating these works with LaGuardia Community College will be an amazing opportunity to work with a world-class institution of higher learning that shares our mission of providing young people the tools to achieve the dreams of their hearts’ desire.”
The Power Authority will contract a landscape architect to support the Variety Boys and Girls Club build upon the facility’s current rooftop garden efforts, expanding it into a functioning farming space, including the installation of a canopy structure to establish an outdoor learning area for students and community members.
NYPA will offer community workshops and learning sessions to educate students and local community members on sustainability and climate justice, also providing farm materials and supplies to facilitate the program. The learning sessions will provide hands-on STEM opportunities for students and community members to learn more about topics pertaining to sustainability, renewable energy, and climate change, as well as urban agriculture topics.
The Power Authority also will partner with LaGuardia Community College to support and develop a new curriculum that focuses on urban farming and sustainable agriculture practices, as well as food justice topics. Variety Boys and Girls Club young people will have the opportunity to participate in these learning programs, along with other community members.
LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams said: “We are excited to be partnering with the New York Power Authority and the Variety Boys and Girls Clubs of Queens on the development of a new training program to introduce the young people of Queens to career opportunities in urban farming and agriculture, environmental science, sustainability, food justice, and more. We look to strengthening our relationship with the community and reminding young people that LaGuardia can be their home for higher education.”
The Power Authority has worked closely with schools and community organizations throughout Queens over the last several years, including NYPA’s Green Classrooms program at schools in Astoria, establishing programs at The Steinway, Henry David Thoreau, The Judge Charles J. Vallone School, Mamie Fay School and the New York City Housing Authority’s Astoria Houses Environmental Learning Lab.
NYPA is committed to being a good neighbor to the historically underserved and marginalized communities located near its statewide facilities and assets. The Power Authority’s environmental justice programs promote curiosity, increase students’ confidence, and help to enhance educational equity by improving STEM learning programming outside a traditional classroom setting.
Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez said, “I’m excited to see Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens take Sky Farm LIC to the next level as an urban agriculture learning hub through its partnership with New York Power Authority and LaGuardia Community College. This collaboration will transform the rooftop garden into a better functioning farming and learning space. The new canopy structure will also provide protected learning space and holds great opportunity to add solar to this green roof’s climate benefits. I look forward to the climate, sustainability, and stewardship educational programs this collaboration will foster at all levels from young students to the broader community and those seeking hands-on experience for certification in urban agriculture. I’d like to thank the New York Power Authority for their urban agriculture and sustainability investment in our community.”
Senator Kristen Gonzalez said: “We are proud to celebrate NYPA’s generous contributions to Sky Farm and LaGuardia Community College’s Urban Agriculture program. These resources will help Sky Farms develop the first-rate sustainability and agricultural programming our children deserve and help cultivate a generation of urban growers prepared to lead New York’s transition to a healthier, more sustainable future for our city.”