Newswise — BRONX, NY, Tuesday, September 14, 2021 – Stephen Ritz, acclaimed teacher, founder of Green Bronx Machine and best-selling author of The Power of a Plant: A Teacher’s Odyssey to Grow Healthy Minds and Schools, has been invited by United States Congressman James P. McGovern (MA-02), Chairman of the House Rules Committee, to testify before Congress on the role of schools in ending hunger and improving nutrition.
Ritz will testify on Wednesday, September 15 at 11:00 a.m. His testimony can be viewed live at: https://youtu.be/AoB13ifdO6I.
“On behalf of everyone at Green Bronx Machine, I’m humbled to be given the opportunity to address our nation’s leadership on an issue that is at the top of my agenda. The greatest lever America has for equity and ending poverty are successful public schools. And, the most important school supply in the world is food. Communities like mine across our great nation are not only under-resourced, but are also over-extracted,” said Ritz. “Our children are the canaries and our schools are the coal mines. Children will never be well read if they are not well fed. Children can’t learn if they are hungry. At Green Bronx Machine, we grow vegetables, our vegetables grow students, our students grow schools and our schools grow happy, healthy, resilient communities. Every school in America needs to do this.”
Chairman McGovern, who also serves as co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus, launched an anti-hunger initiative earlier this year out of the House Rules Committee called Ending Hunger in America. It features a series of events, including hearings, roundtables and site visits to highlight the reality of hunger in America and steps Congress and the Biden Administration could take to equitably combat it.
On a visit to Green Bronx Machine in June, Chairman McGovern said, “As the Rules Committee crafts a plan to end hunger in America, I want to see the important work being done on the ground in communities across the country. The Green Bronx Machine is using innovative programs to invest in students and build stronger communities. Seeing their success firsthand will be invaluable as we build a roadmap for equitably ending food insecurity in this country and continue pushing for a White House hunger conference.”
In the last year alone, GBM and Ritz have distributed more than 130,000 pounds of food, produced 5,000-plus pounds of produce grown locally in the Bronx, built and stocked three new food pantries, delivered weekly 152 backpacks of food to students and fulfilled more than 1,600 emergency food requests from families in need. In the process, they have moved school attendance from 40 percent to 93 percent daily and helped provide 2,200 youth jobs in the Bronx. Ritz and GBM also have trained nearly 1,500 teachers using GBM’s curriculum, impacting more than 50,000 students in the Bronx, across America and around the world (https://greenbronxmachine.org/2020-impact-report/).
About Green Bronx Machine
Founded in 2011 by Global Teaching Prize finalist and life-long educator Stephen Ritz, Green Bronx Machine (GBM) is an impact driven, for-purpose organization with 501(c)(3) status. GBM builds healthy, equitable and resilient communities through inspired education, local food systems, and 21st Century workforce development. Dedicated to cultivating minds and harvesting hope, its school-based model and propriety curriculum uses urban agriculture aligned to key school performance indicators, to grow healthy students and healthy schools. Simultaneously, GBM also transforms once fragmented and marginalized communities into neighborhoods that are inclusive and thriving. For more information, visit https://greenbronxmachine.org.
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