The Green Bronx Machine

The Green Bronx Machine

Jan 23

Changing the way we eat is more than just being healthy and reducing pollution — it’s an opportunity to build community. We just watched a presentation by Stephen Ritz at the TEDx Manhattan conference “Changing the Way We Eat,” and it’s incredibly hard to remember and describe everything he is doing, but he gave me chills of excitement. He possesses more energy than a class full of sixth graders, which is exactly what he teaches — in the Bronx, the poorest congressional district in the country.

Every day, Stephen faces children who don’t know vegetables come from the ground, whose parents are unemployed, who face a bleak future in our current economy. But he does an amazing thing: He turns these kids into urban farmers. Working with them, he builds wall gardens, starts community gardens, installs roof gardens, and creates and supports programs that bring greater fresh food accessibility to the Bronx.

Stephen Ritz has been recognized by lots of people in New York, but I think he is just starting to shine throughout the country as proof of what is possible and exactly what is lacking in our current food system.

I really hate to say that his TED talk is not currently available online, but as soon as it is, I will share it. Until then, Google “Stephen Ritz Bronx” and you’ll find lots of information about his organization, The Green Bronx Machine, and his many efforts in and around the Bronx.

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