Governor Hochul Announces Indoor Food Production System to Advance Urban Agriculture in Harlem

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced an indoor farming pilot project in Harlem that will increase year-round availability of fresh fruits and vegetables for local underserved families and further national research into optimal conditions. indoor growth and agricultural production. Part of a multi-state demonstration funded by the New York Power Authority and led by energy R&D institute EPRI, the large shipping container outside a New York City Housing Authority building will help communities to grow produce year-round, develop healthy habits, and learn about sustainability and environmental issues. Harlem Grown, a local non-profit organization, will manage food production and support distribution to the community. The project will also investigate how to increase yields and manage resources, while reducing associated greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption. The project helps advance the goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which forces New York to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% before 2030 and no less than 85% by 2050.

“With year-round indoor farming, our communities will have the opportunity to locally grow fresh, healthy produce to help build a more sustainable New York City,” Governor Hochul said. “I am proud to announce this hydroponic garden in Harlem, which will provide healthy food to local families and help educate the next generation of urban farmers. As we learn more about the environmental and energy impacts of urban agricultural production , New York is taking another nationally leading step in advancing our clean energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals.”

The New York Power Authority and project organizers celebrated the launch of the project today and viewed the new system in Harlem – a hydroponic greenhouse that grows produce in a soil-less environment. As part of a national collaborative research effort led by the nonprofit EPRI, the Harlem Agriculture Project will help increase knowledge about the environmental, energy, and community impacts of indoor agriculture. These learnings will help inform a broader understanding of the sustainability of local indoor crop production, including energy and water consumption. The results will also help increase community engagement, provide education opportunities on technology and agriculture, stimulate local job creation, and increase the availability of local crops.

The New York Power Authority’s Environmental Justice Team, which funds the $250,000 program with the New York Power Authority’s Research, Technology Development and Innovation Program, managed the placement of the shipping container. of 40 feet branded “Plant Fruits and Vegetables. Grow Healthy Communities”. The outdoor weatherproof container sits in an open lot off 140th Street next to the PS 139 Senior Center, which is currently being converted into an outdoor garden and meeting place.

New York Power Authority Interim Chairman and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said: “The New York Power Authority is proud to be an active supporter and partner in providing healthy, locally grown resources to the communities around our facilities. Educating young people while improving industry practices and producing healthy crops is a win-win situation. energy use is always a priority and we want to understand how domestic food production will impact the state’s power grid and electricity usage while providing a source of food reliable all year round for local families.

State Senator Cordell Cleare said: “I am proud to support the enterprising work of Governor Hochul and Harlem Grown who have an innovative, educational, environmentally friendly and replicable model that can teach our young people invaluable skills and lessons, as well as provide families with locally grown produce. It is my sincere hope that these types of local projects flourish in conjunction with other needed investments in our community, such as truly affordable housing.”

The Harlem project will operate a modified, heavily insulated shipping container as a controlled environment space that uses electric technologies to grow fresh, local vegetables year-round. In addition to improving local access to fresh produce, indoor farming has been shown to reduce shipping costs and reduce or eliminate the use of fossil fuels in agricultural production. Indoor farming can also reduce or eliminate the need for pesticides and significantly reduce water usage for some crops.

The produce will be grown and distributed by Harlem Grown, a natural partner in this project, as it operates four central farms, two hydroponic greenhouses and six partner gardens that provide more than 5,000 pounds of free food to the Harlem community each year. Additionally, the organization seeks to impact the wider community through mentorship and partnerships. It offers free nutrition education programs on its farms for children and adults, where community members learn how to plant, care for and harvest all fruits and vegetables. He also runs a mobile teaching kitchen to bring food education and cooking classes to nearby Harlem schools, housing estates and community organizations.

Harlem Grown Founder and CEO Tony Hillery said: “We are honored and thrilled to be part of this groundbreaking project in urban agriculture alongside the New York Power Authority, EPRI, and New York City Housing Authority. Harlem Grown exists for the community, and this system of indoor food production gives us more opportunities to work with all age groups – from our young people to our elderly in the neighborhood Our space for farming is limited in the city, so we have to be innovative and forward thinking about ways to provide fresh, locally grown food year-round. This project is about more than agriculture; it’s about food and environmental sustainability and food justice.”

Beyond examining agricultural practices, this project will also assess the impact of domestic food production on the state’s electrical and utility grid. Monitoring electricity and water usage, technological innovations and sustainability considerations will help determine how indoor food production facilities and energy providers can work better together.

Director of Sustainability and Ecosystem Management at EPRI Morgan Scott said: “Controlled-environment agriculture is a promising area of ​​research where communities and energy partners can help develop more sustainable farming methods that locally benefit the communities they serve. We look forward to expanding our collaboration with the New York Power Authority in Harlem and for the greater New York community.”

Harlem joins more than a dozen controlled-environment farms that EPRI is studying nationwide, including a similar pilot project launched in 2020 to serve the Buffalo metro area. To date, Buffalo Farm has provided over 1,200 pounds of kale which has been distributed to local families through FeedMore WNY’s nutritional program.

New York Power Authority’s Environmental Justice Team offers education programs on clean and renewable energy and sustainability, and provides resources to meet the needs of underserved and resource-poor communities located near energy assets of the NYPA. NYPA operates small, clean power plants at six sites in New York. The team will conduct science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, programs and host community events with Harlem Grown youth.

Vice President of Environmental Justice Lisa Payne Wansley said: “The New York Power Authority strives to improve the lives of members of the local communities where we operate by providing programs and resources they otherwise would not have. Indoor food production is a growing industry and lessons learned from this nationwide demonstration could have a major impact on underserved communities across the U.S. Sustainability and green technologies have the potential to increase year-round access to local fresh produce, to reduce the use of water and pesticides and to improve the food security of many of our neighbors in need.

New York State National Climate Plan
New York State’s premier climate program is the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues to drive a healthy economy. green as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined in law by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on track to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70% power generation renewable energy by 2030, and achieve economy-wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York’s unprecedented investments to expand clean energy, including more than $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable energy and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion in dollars to reduce emissions from buildings, $1.8 billion to expand solar power, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and more than $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments . Together, these investments support nearly 158,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2020, 2,100% growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011, and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind power from ‘by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on that progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring ensuring that at least 35%, with a target of 40%, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advancing progress towards the state 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing 185 trillion BTUs of on-site energy consumption in end-use energy savings.

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