Bath Beach middle schoolers can now grow fruits and vegetables at IS 281’s new hydroponics lab.
The school held a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 29 to mark the official opening of the lab, where students will learn the science of farming without soil, according to the school’s science teacher.
“The students really like it. The majority of these kids have never done anything like this,” said Antony Solino. “They take it seriously. It’s a big responsibility because this is a living thing.”
The school purchased the lab using a $250,000 grant from Borough President Eric Adam’s office, which also funded a flight simulator, a three dimensional printer, and other technology projects.
Solino said the lab, which hosts more than 100 plants, provided an opportunity to teach kids about the wonders of hydroponics, which uses rockwool, mineral nutrients, and water solvent to grow plant-life.
“You go away on Friday, and you come back on Monday, and the plants have grown several inches,” he said. “It’s like elves cast a spell on it.”
Solino hopes the school can expand the lab in future years to include more students, grow more plants, and put the harvest to better use.
“It’s great to be able to use the vegetables in our own cafeteria for things like salad, but ultimately a great goal would be to use it to donate to a food pantry.”