Meet Manuela Zamora - Executive Director of NY Sun Works

Updated: Feb 1

Committed to raising awareness of sustainability by building innovative hydroponics labs in schools, Manuela co-founded a program that teaches science through the lenses of urban farming.

Originally from Bolivia, Manuela Zamora is a consultant in gender, education, and development. She founded the Fundación Carmen, where she created El Dorado (the Route of Fair Trade), a program that promoted sustainable development by training low-income women artisans in production and marketing. Before her work with Fundación Carmen, she coordinated the division of cultural events and volunteer programs in the Office of the First Lady of Bolivia. Now based in New York City, she co-founded the Greenhouse project of NY Sun Works.

NY Sun Works is a non-profit organization that builds innovative science labs in urban schools to teach students sustainability through hydroponic farming technology. These labs were called the Greenhouse Project, and they operate as an integrated part of the school’s curricula and prepare children to exceed NYC’s science standards. It offers all students the opportunity to grow food while learning hands-on about nutrition benefits, water resource management, efficient land use, climate change, biodiversity, conservation, contamination, pollution, waste management, and sustainable development. The organization’s goal is to train a generation of environmental innovators, empowered to create solutions to global resource challenges.

Last week, Chefs for Impact visited the first labs created by NY Sun Works in 2010, a green farm on the rooftops of PS 333 school in the heart of Manhattan. We had an exciting meeting during which we learned a lot from Manuela and Dave Hazan, an urban farmer specialized in aquaponics and hydroponics.

Impactful data:

135: is the number of labs built by NY Sun Works in 10 years

360: is the number of teachers trained

40,000+: is the number of students reached

200: is the varieties of produce grown by The Greenhouse project every year in schools (lettuces, greens, basil, microgreens, kale, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, peas, strawberries, edible flowers, pumpkins, zucchini, etc.

100,000 lb: is the labs’ capacity to grow v