Heschel’s Greenhouse Finds New Purpose

By Sadie Mank ‘23, Features Editor 

Though it often goes unnoticed, Heschel’s greenhouse is a living testament to Heschel’s commitment to agriculture amidst the pandemonium of New York City. Its function over the years continues to undergo evolution; it turned from a space used primarily for high school biology students to gain an understanding of their classroom curriculum content into to a space for early childhood and lower school to explore vegetables and plant life. Heschel High School Science Teacher Jon Greenberg has overseen the greenhouse’s entire journey, and serves as the faculty advisor of the Gardening Club and as a greenhouse advocate. 

Greenberg explained that in its current iteration, the high school’s relationship with the greenhouse is mostly through the Gardening Club, whose current project is to beautify the school’s interior through agriculture. During pod learning in the COVID-19 pandemic, Heschel gave students the opportunity to grow small plants in their classrooms. There was such a positive response to the  indoor greenery that the club decided to cultivate larger ornamental plants in the greenhouse to eventually reside in classrooms. Greenberg tasked a club member with watering the five or so plants already in classrooms a few times a week. Greenberg expressed the club’s intention to ultimately fill every classroom with greenhouse-grown plants. 

In the spirit of their long-standing tradition (disrupted by COVID-19) to host a market to sell their seasonal harvest, the club will also be planting parsley and lettuce for the Heschel community’s seders in the coming weeks. Greenberg added that in past pre-holiday produce markets, the club donated proceeds to Harlem Grown, an organization dedicated to teaching kids the importance of nutrition by encouraging them to grow vegetables themselves.

Greenberg urges any student interested in the greenhouse to join him any Wednesday during clubs period. “There’s lots to do,” he assured. 

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