- Restoration of Funding: New York Sun Works applauds the restoration of $8.5 million in funding for the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production at USDA.
- Legislative Support: The effort was led by Senators Debbie Stabenow and Kirsten Gillibrand, highlighting significant political backing.
- Impact on Education: The funding supports the Urban Agriculture Workforce Development Program and the operation of Hydroponic Classrooms in Brooklyn public schools.
- Focus on Climate Science and Urban Farming: The program introduces students to crucial skills and knowledge that align with future job opportunities.
- Call for Continued Support: Executive Director Manuela Zamora urges further legislative action to secure the FY 24 annual budget funding.
In a significant boost to urban agriculture and educational initiatives, New York Sun Works has expressed profound gratitude for restoring vital funding to urban farming programs. The US Senate, led by Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, has successfully reinstated $8.5 million to the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production at the USDA. This achievement is part of the Senate-passed Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations Bill.
Legislative Champions for Urban Agriculture
Senators Stabenow and Gillibrand’s efforts were pivotal in this restoration, demonstrating their commitment to sustainable agriculture and education. Their advocacy has been essential in navigating the bill through the legislative process. The move is a significant step in supporting innovative agricultural practices in urban settings.
Educational Impact and Urban Farming Initiatives
Manuela Zamora, the Executive Director of New York Sun Works, emphasized the direct benefits of this funding on the education of New York City’s public school children. The UAIP grant to NY Sun Works has been instrumental in developing and implementing the Urban Agriculture Workforce Development Program and maintaining Hydroponic Classrooms in nine Brooklyn public schools. These initiatives provide students with hands-on experience in climate science and urban farming, equipping them with skills for future employment in the sector.
A Step Towards Addressing Climate Change
Zamora underscored the importance of this funding in the context of the climate crisis, deeming it an urgent and existential challenge. The support from elected leaders in Washington for such funding bills is crucial for providing the city’s youth with the education and tools needed for a sustainable future.
Future Prospects and Calls for Action
While expressing gratitude for the progress made, Zamora also called for continued support from political allies, including Majority Leader Schumer and the New York Delegation to the House of Representatives. The aim is to ensure the inclusion of this funding in the final FY 24 annual budget, solidifying the commitment to urban agriculture and sustainable education in New York City.
Image provided by NY Sun Works