Yonkers Science Barge grows organic produce for people in need

The Hudson River in Yonkers at Groundwork Hudson Valley's Science Barge launched a project Friday that focuses on growing organic produce for those in need.

Sustainability Education Manager Joel Rodriguez says the educational center has been working on growing produce through an aquaponic system. This means the plants don't need any fertilizers or soil to grow in. Instead, the produce is grown in a body of water with fish.

"No kind of fertilizers needed, we rely on the fish to do everything," Rodriguez says. "The nutrients they leave behind goes into this container, it floods the area with the nutrients that is in that fish poop."
Groundwork Hudson Valley Executive Director Brigitte Griswold says this science ingenuity actually stems from the coronavirus pandemic.

"We have not been able to function as an educational center because we can't host school groups, so we really had to rethink how we use the facility," she says. "We are repositioning as a growing center for increasingly food insecure communities in Yonkers," says Griswold.
All of the produce will be donated to the nonprofit YWCA, which helps provide women in need of shelter and food.
"What our partnership will hopefully do is increase nutrition to the food supply and help those women have fresh healthy meals everyday," says Griswold
The project is expected to grow acres of organic, pesticide free produce at a high yield faster than soil-based plants. Griswold says the produce grown includes cucumbers, tomatoes, leafy greens and peppers.