Bok choy growing in the indoor urban hydroponic garden at the Institute of Culinary Education

The Hydroponic Garden

Inside ICE's New York campus, a fully functional hydroponic herb and produce garden is growing — offering our students a forward-looking, plant-based educational experience.

Cultivating Innovation at ICE

Today’s culinary industry demands fresh, locally-sourced ingredients — farm-to-table cuisine has become the standard.

At ICE, we’re making “farm-to-classroom” cuisine the standard for culinary education. ICE’s indoor hydroponic farm has grown more than 250 crop varieties to date with a variety of flavors in a controlled environment on campus. ICE students explore the hydroponic farm alongside the farm manager and chef-instructors. They taste the garden’s herbs and edible flowers and experience the robust flavor of freshly picked ingredients. This both expands students’ palates and inspires their culinary creativity. ICE students are encouraged to use these same herbs and produce on a regular basis. By having access to the latest urban agriculture trends — vertical, aeroponic and hydroponic farming systems — students gain experience that can contribute to professional paths in areas like sustainability and agriculture.

In addition to students and chef-instructors, ICE’s hydroponic farm has drawn visits from industry leaders such as Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, Alex Atala, Bryce Shuman, Shane Hergatt, Gabriel Kreuther and Wylie Dufresne — chefs with refined palates who can taste and instantly envision how to use the edible plants. 

Learn more about the farm

A student clips lettuces and herbs in the hydroponic Garden at the Institute of Culinary Education

What Is a "Hydroponic Garden"?

ICE’s hydroponic garden and farm is at the forefront of urban agriculture. Utilizing LED technology and a hydroponic irrigation system, the farm classroom is a unique, custom-designed, climate-controlled indoor learning space with eight kinds of hydroponic and lighting systems. More than 50 crop varieties are grown at any one time, including rare and unusual herbs and greens, tomatoes, eggplants and strawberries.

Watch: The Growth of the ICE Hydroponic Garden

Witness how the ICE hydroponic garden came to grow from seed to root to stem. Our journey building the farm inside the school began with just a few racks and tiny seeds but soon grew into a lush, vibrant oasis inside our halls. It just goes to show: good things take root at ICE.

Visit the farm on a campus tour

Experience hydroponic gardening and urban agriculture at ICE

Students can learn about introductory hydroponic farming, commercial urban farming, plant care and harvesting, microgreen production and more by volunteering or working part-time in the garden.

Students learn about hydroponic farming at ICE

Experience Indoor Farming

Watch ICE grow herbs, greens, fruit and flowers indoors using hydroponics in a controlled environment under artificial light. The world of indoor growing offers a glimpse of the possibilities of year-round, pesticide-free, high-quality, high-yield agriculture.

The hydroponic garden grows more than 50 varieties of herbs, edible flowers and microgreens at a time. LED lighting and hydroponics are used to cultivate a huge variety of culinary plants, numbering over 250 to date. The indoor grow room uses no pesticides or herbicides and around 95% less water than a traditional farm. Students get hands-on experience from seed to harvest under the guidance of ICE’s farm manager and chefs.