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Queens pols announce $5 million in funding to agriculture program at John Bowne High School in Flushing

Nov. 21, 2023 By Rachel Butler

Queens Council Member James Gennaro and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams joined students and faculty at John Bowne High School in Flushing on Nov. 20 to announce a $5 million donation to the school’s agricultural program.

This new allocation will help fund a new exotic animal lab, farming equipment, a storage shed, farming tools and other enhancements at the school.

Adams allocated the funding after Gennaro had advocated on behalf the high school, which is located in his district at 63-25 Main St. in Flushing.

Gennaro said that although he grew up in an urban setting, he always enjoyed visiting farms in his youth and that this introduction to nature and agriculture propelled him forward to pursue a career in making environmental public policy. 

“Many people would be surprised to learn just how many agricultural jobs are available in New York,” Gennaro said Monday. “This investment will cultivate a fertile ground for hands-on learning, innovation and community growth. Together, we’re sowing the seeds of a brighter future for our students and our city,” he said. 

The John Bowne Agricultural Program, also known as the Agri-Science program, is recognized nationally as an exceptional urban agricultural education for its students. It has been running since 1964 and currently consists of more than 500 students and eight teachers. 

Speaker Adams said that this program helps students to excel in a number of different career paths, as well as learn practical skills and knowledge which will help them later in life as adults.

“The Council is proud to allocate $5 million to John Bowne High School’s Agri-Science program,” Adams said. “This program provides students with the unique opportunity for them to participate in supervised agricultural activities. With this funding allocation, we hope to inspire our young scholars to engage in a holistic educational experience that is personally enriching and rewarding.”

School Principal Dr. Iannelli thanked Adams and Gennaro for providing the resources needed to support the growth and development of the school’s farm. 

Students of the program spoke about the importance of this funding for the future of the program and their agricultural education. 

“As well as having our farm and being able to have this hands-on experience, our program provides us with education on how to write job resumes and cover letters, have good interview skills and more in order to prepare us for high school and beyond,” said senior student Melissa Pratt. “We have also learned a lot about urban agriculture and are grateful that this funding will contribute to our hands-on learning on our farm.”

The farm at the school currently sits on a four acre land consisting of a poultry house, large animal barn, exotic animal laboratory, greenhouse and orchard and field corps. The program is ran in conjunction with the FFA organization (Future Farmers of America). 

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