STEM Academy perceives the school garden as a key tool in teaching academic skills. The gardening provides a context for understanding both simple and complex concepts (volume and area, for instance), tracking changes over time, and distinguishing between biotic and abiotic. It is a place where students practice skills like measurement and scientific observation. In addition, gardens are places where students can connect with global issues through the natural resources of earth, advance community development efforts through neighborhood beautification, and leave their green-print in our ecosystem. STEM Academy proactively is raising awareness about the benefits of hydroponic gardening. We held an open house in November where community stakeholders were invited to learn about the hydroponics program here at STEM Academy and observe what our students are doing. All attendees enjoyed healthy snack options including fresh pesto made from the school’s basil plants and a juicing station. We invited NJEA to attend and they published the following article about our program. Students at STEM Academy move to 21st century farming STEM Academy also partners with Sojourner Truth an elementary school in East Orange School district to create food producing urban farm laboratories at schools in the district. STEM Academy and Sojouner Truth have taken the lead as the primary sites. Use of hydroponics for indoor growing, and use of courtyard spaces for outdoor growing, will both be incorporated into a cross disciplinary curriculum for students particularly grades 6-8 and 9-12.