Booker T. Washington High School will get an infusion of cash, thanks to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who secured $1.6 mil for the east Houston school. 

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The money comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Fund and will support a substantial climate change project that would engage students, faculty, and the community.

“Booker T. Washington faculty and staff are commended for their innovative thinking that brought this project to my attention. The work proposed is something that I want to encourage because our communities need a global perspective when addressing local needs. I firmly believe that the solutions for climate change, food deserts, and other societal challenges will be found when academia and communities join efforts to find answers that benefit everyone,” Jackson Lee said.

The Booker T Washington community project funding request was funded in fiscal year 2022 to construct and maintain a sustainable growing environment. The project will provide a living laboratory food education center, a production facility, and raised garden beds, which will act as a carbon sink to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in soil and plants. It will produce crops year-round for the surrounding community and function as a for-profit center where the community can purchase customized plant nutrient formulations. A wind farm will also be installed to supply electrical energy to the entire project and the football field. There will also be two container houses to display historical and engineering artifacts and a container house for use as a Plant Factory with Artificial Lighting (PFAL).

There are many areas that ‘The Vision’ Community Statue Project impacts the Texas 18th District. Jackson Lee says these impacts align with the Houston and Houston Climate Action Plan, which includes the reduction of environmental impact in the reduction of greenhouse gases emission through:

  • Reduced usage of electricity for lighting, heating, and cooling (depend more on renewable energy sources suchas wind, solar, geothermal, biofuel, etc. instead of the grid)
  • Changes in the way we produce food by using more hydroponic and aeroponic methods as well as recycling nutrients and water
  • Reduction of food mileage by growing food locally
  • Economic development by creating job opportunities and sustainable communities by making Houston neighborhoods greener and cooler to combat extreme heat
  • Reducing carbon footprint by capturing and storing it in trees and soil
  • Providing a safe, educational, and community recreational space ensuring that all surrounding neighborhoods have access to the quality park and nature
  • Growing and providing access to nutritious, quality, healthy and pesticide-free food, thereby fortifying a greater Houston lifeline and supply chain.

“These impacts will also allow students at Booker T. Washington High School to learn and to contribute to the solutions for climate change and food deserts through research, experimentation, prototyping, and testing as we strive to become a year-long supplier of fresh produce. This is a great day for this storied institution and the community it serves,” Jackson Lee said.

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