New Yorkers and visitors to the state alike can “go green” when they board the Science Barge, a state-of-the-art floating greenhouse. The farm-boat hybrid lies just north of the Yonkers Pier along the Hudson River. NY Sun Works constructed the barge and Groundwork Hudson Valley acquired it in 2008. The Science Barge is concurrently a source of fresh fruits and vegetables and an environmentally-themed educational center.
How it Works
The Science Barge, according to Groundwork Hudson Valley, is a sustainable urban farm powered by solar, wind, and biofuels, and irrigated by rainwater and purified river water. This means the aquatic greenhouse can generate fresh produce with no carbon emissions or net water consumption. The vegetables cultivated on the Science Barge use four times less water and seven times less land than conventional field crops, and because nutrients are provided to the plants through the recycled water they can be grown much faster. A mission of the farm is to encourage cities to supply their own food, as transportation contributes to pollution. The systems were designed for rooftops, an abundant resource in cities like Yonkers, but were put on the water for demonstration purposes.
Tour the Science Barge on Saturdays and Sundays between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. for an encouraged donation of $5 per person. Large groups of 10 or more can be accommodated on the weekends for the price of $125. During the week, the Science Barge holds educational programs, school field trips, and camps in the summer. The greenhouse invites students from Kindergarten to 12th grade to the drifting greenhouse to learn about renewable energy, contribute to the barge’s compost supply, and sample the environmentally-clean-grown tomatoes, melons, eggplant, peppers, and even popcorn. The Science Barge also offers open volunteer hours, Sundays from 10 a.m. until noon, for those that wish to give back to the community.