30: Stephen Ritz on Healthy Students, Schools, and Communities
Stephen Ritz is a South Bronx teacher/administrator who believes that students shouldn’t have to leave their community to live, learn and earn in a better one. Moving generations of students into spheres of personal and academic successes they have never imagined while reclaiming and rebuilding the Bronx, Stephen’s extended student and community family have grown over 25,000 pounds of vegetables in the Bronx while generating extraordinary academic performance.
His Bronx classroom features the first indoor edible wall in NYC DOE which routinely generates enough produce to feed 450 students healthy meals and trains the youngest nationally certified workforce in America.
Stephen was recently named a 2015 Top Ten Finalist for the $1m Global Teacher Prize, Stephen’s accolades include a 2014 Greenius Award, 2014 Green Difference Award, 2013 Latintrends Award, ABC Above and Beyond Award, Chevrolet / General Motors National Green Educator Award, USS Intrepid Hometown Hero Award, NYC Chancellor’s Award and various others.
The White House Chef, William “Bill” Yosses, is an American chef who is best known as co-author of the book Desserts For Dummies and for being the White House Executive Pastry Chef from 2007 to 2014, joined Stephen and the kids in the classroom!
Make an impact in your classroom! Help your students plant the seeds of their future in your classroom garden. If kids grow food, they eat food.
What makes this program successful?
It starts with incredible kids like these, who come early and stay late. All of his kids are either IEP or ELL learners. Most come with a lot of handicaps. Most are homeless. Many are in foster care.
Almost all of his kids live below poverty. But with those seeds, from day one, they are growing in his classroom, and his classroom is a tower garden. And you see how attentive these kids are to these seeds. And then you notice that those seeds become farms across the Bronx that look like this:
Green Bronx Machine builds healthy, equitable, and resilient communities through inspired education, local food systems, and 21st Century workforce development. Dedicated to cultivating minds and harvesting hope, our school-based model using urban agriculture aligned to key school performance indicators grows healthy students and healthy schools to transform communities that are fragmented and marginalized into neighborhoods that are inclusive and thriving.
At Green Bronx Machine, they believe that healthy students help drive healthy schools, and that healthy schools are at the heart of healthy communities. They envision growing healthy communities where those who are “apart from” will become “part of” new solutions that benefit 100% of society; a world where people do not have to leave their community to live, learn and earn in a better one. Together, we can grow something greater! Ready, set, GROW!
Where can you learn more?
Visit Stephen and the Green Bronx Machine at:
Go Fund Me: https://www.gofundme.com/GreenBronxMachine
A pivotal book for Stephen: Americans Who Tell the Truth
Stephen is an amazing speaker and has been featured on TED Talks! Here’s my personal favorite: