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

The Hydroponic Garden

Welcome to the Future of Culinary Education

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 garden has grown over 250 crop varieties to date, producing rare flavors from around the world in a state-of-the-art, controlled environment. ICE students explore the hydroponic garden alongside the farm manager and their chef instructors. They taste the garden’s herbs and produce and experience the robust flavor of freshly picked ingredients. This both expands students’ palates and inspires their culinary creativity. ICE students cook with these same herbs and produce on a regular basis. By having access to the latest urban agriculture trends — vertical farming and hydroponic farming systems — students become equipped for careers outside the kitchen as well, in areas like sustainability and agriculture.

In addition to students and chef instructors, ICE’s hydroponic garden 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 garden’s herbs. The garden has even begun supplying herbs and produce to a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the city. 

Curious about how you can get into the Hydroponic Garden? Click here.

 

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 is at the forefront of urban agriculture. Utilizing LED light technology and a hydroponic irrigation system, the ICE hydroponic garden is a unique, custom-designed, climate-controlled indoor learning space with eight different kinds of hydroponic and lighting systems. Over 50 different 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.

Take a class in the farm

Learn hydroponic farming and urban agriculture at ICE

New classes in hydroponic farming for all levels are now open to the general public — including Intro to Hydroponic Farming, Commercial Urban Farming, Plant Care & Harvesting, Microgreen Production and more!

Students learn about hydroponic farming at ICE

Intro to Indoor Farming

Learn how to grow herbs, greens, fruit and flowers indoors using hydroponics in a controlled environment under artificial light. This introduction to the high-tech world of indoor growing will open your eyes to the possibilities of year-round, pesticide-free, high-quality, high-yield agriculture suitable for any size. 

Get hands-on experience from seed to harvest in three hours under the guidance of ICE’s expert farm manager. Students of all experience levels and all backgrounds are welcome.

Hydroponically grown tomatoes hang on a vine at the Institute of Culinary Education

Farm Tour & Tasting with Wine & Gift Box

Tour our indoor hydroponic farm, growing more than 50 varieties of rare herbs, edible flowers and microgreens. Sip complimentary sparkling wine as you taste new and unique flavors from around the world.

Our unique farm uses LED lighting and hydroponics to grow a huge variety of culinary plants, numbering over 250 to date. The indoor grow room uses no pesticides or herbicides, and uses around 95% less water than a traditional farm. The farm supplies both the school and a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the city.

In this one-hour tour, you will have the chance to taste dozens of rare plant varieties, most of which are never available fresh in New York City. Discover the science of how plants thrive in completely controlled conditions, and experience new flavors and ways of thinking about culinary plants. Attendance is strictly limited, so that there is plenty of time for Q&A and hands-on access to plants.

Bok choy grows in hydroponic racks at ICE

Commercial Urban Farming

Urban farming is exciting and sustainable, but is it profitable? New farmers can get caught up in the excitement without careful planning, making it hard to build a successful farm business. In this detailed, in-depth and practical two-day class, students learn the commercial aspects of vertical farming from the founders of Farm.One and BluePlanet consulting. BluePlanet has a treasure trove of experience assisting countless urban farmers realize their dreams while simultaneously maximizing the potential of their operations. This class gives you the knowledge and skills to plan out and profitably operate a vertical farm of your choice. It’s less about a fixed model, and more about building a way of thinking. Students will be exposed to wide variety of operations, hydroponic systems and site tours all over New York City. Ultimately ensuring a fully immersive experience that will undoubtedly leave you prepared to begin or continue your dream urban farming enterprise.

Edible flowers are grown in the hydroponic garden at the Institute of Culinary Education

Plant Care & Harvesting

In this three-hour class, students build a solid foundation of plant understanding, which will allow them to confidently grow crops indoors. Students will be guided through each stage of a plant’s lifecycle including germination, transplanting and harvesting. Students will also get in depth knowledge regarding plant structure, health and cloning. A 100% plant-based lunch is provided, featuring fresh herbs and greens grown in the farm.

The farm manager shows students hydroponic systems at ICE

Hydroponic Systems

In principle, many hydroponic systems are quite simple, but the devil is often in the details of installation and long-term operation. In this three-hour class, students learn how to set up a growing room using a wide range of common hydroponic systems. You will learn how to choose between different kinds of lighting, plumbing equipment, electrical parts and growing media. There is ample time for hands-on examination and experimentation with different equipment. The class will be under the guidance of Farm.One’s expert Farm Manager, David Goldstein. David has a wealth of experience growing a wide variety of the crops he will be showcasing during this four-hour event. The ICE hydroponic grow room operated by Farm.One is a unique, custom-designed, climate-controlled indoor learning space with eight different kinds of hydroponic and lighting systems. Over 50 different crop varieties are grown at any one time, including rare and unusual herbs such as Amaranth, Nasturtium and a slew of edible flowers and garnishes used by New York's best chefs.

Microgreens are sprouting at the Institute of Culinary Education

Microgreen Production

The class will be under the guidance of Farm.One’s expert Farm Manager, David Goldstein. David will be showcasing during this three-hour event. The ICE hydroponic grow room operated by Farm.One is a unique, custom-designed, climate-controlled indoor learning space with 8 different kinds of hydroponic and lighting systems. Over 50 different crop varieties are grown at any one time, including rare and unusual herbs such as Amaranth, Nasturtium, and a slew of edible flowers and garnishes used by New York's best chefs.