“The Power of a Plant” by Stephen Ritz is Available May 2!

April 26, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Stephen Ritz’s highly anticipated new book, The Power of a Plant:

We just adore Stephen Ritz!  Stephen is the gifted and exuberant STEM / STEAM Executive Director at the National Health, Wellness and Learning Center at CS 55 in New York City’s South Bronx.

The Power of a Plant Stephen Ritz Available May 2

He is also the founder of the Green Bronx Machine, and the author of the upcoming The Power of a Plant, from Rodale, the lauded health publisher, 2017.

The educational, affordable local food systems, and workforce development innovator’s The Power of a Plant, A Teacher’s Odyssey to Grow Healthy Minds and Schools is dropping May 2, 2017.  Available on sale now, all proceeds of the book go to support the Green Bronx Machine.

Green Bronx Machine

Stephen Ritz founded the student-led Green Bronx Machine and its desire is to provide education, affordable local food systems, and 21st century workforce development.

The South Bronx is the poorest congressional district in the nation with some of the highest rates of asthma, obesity, and malnutrition.  Through education and local engagement, the Green Bronx Machine builds healthy, equitable, and resilient communities.

Healthy children are at the heart of healthy schools, and healthy schools are at the heart of resilient communities. ~ The Mission of the Green Bronx Machine

National Health, Wellness and Learning Center

A 2015 Global Teacher Prize Top Ten Finalist, Stephen Ritz donated his entire $25,000 prize to the creation of the National Health, Wellness and Learning Center, a 100+ year old reclaimed school library in at CS 55.

The Power of a Plant Stephen Ritz Available May 2

This is what the 100+ year old library at CS 55 looked like before…

The Power of a Plant Stephen Ritz Available May 2

And after the National Health, Wellness & Learning Center was created!

The innovative STEM/STEAM curriculum is integrated with plant-based teaching lessons which align with core school curriculum.

Stephen is using horticulture in his classroom to not only teach biology and science.  He is using it to help cultivate nurturing and conscious adults.  He calls the Center “a place of wonder, inquiry and engagement for students, teachers, parents and the whole community.”

The Power of a Plant

What if we taught students that they have as much potential as a seed? That in the right conditions, they can grow into something great? That’s the question that Stephen Ritz – who became a teacher more than 30 years ago – sought to answer in 2004 in a South Bronx high school plagued by rampant crime and a dismal graduation rate. After what can only be defined as a cosmic experience where a flower broke up a fight in his classroom, he saw a way to start tackling his school’s problems: plants.

He flipped his curriculum to integrate gardening as an entry point for all learning, and inadvertently created an international phenomenon. As Ritz likes to say, “50,000 pounds of vegetables later, my favorite crop is organically grown citizens who are growing and eating themselves into good health and amazing opportunities.”

From the mountains of Colombia to the streets of Cairo, and from cities across Canada to the desert sands of Dubai, Stephen Ritz is forming global partnerships to bring the power of a plant to the world. Stephen teaches Pre-K through 5th grade at CS 55 in the Bronx, and is the founder of the Green Bronx Machine. He was a Top 10 Finalist for the Global Teacher Prize, and is one of NPR’s 50 Greatest Teachers.

His work has been featured multiple times at the White House and in 2106 a replica of his classroom was installed in the US Botanic Gardens. His work has been featured and celebrated in major media and documentaries around the world including a personal invite to meet Pope Francis.

Stephen earned his school the first-ever Citywide Award of Excellence from NYC’s Strategic Alliance for Health and he and his students have been featured on PBS: American Graduate, Disney, Jennifer Lopez Special, TNT, The Chew and Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. Ritz has spoken at the United Nations Social Innovation Summit, Clinton Global Initiative, WOBI, Fortune 100’s – all to standing ovations – and his TEDx talk – ranked in the top ten of educational talks – has had over one million views.

Dubbed the Pied Piper of Peas, Stephen and his family reside in the Bronx and continue to farm with children all year round. ~ Back cover, The Power of a Plant by Stephen Ritz

2017 Virtual Summit Keynote

The Power of a Plant Stephen Ritz Available May 2We are honored to have Stephen Ritz as an esteemed Keynote at our 2017 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit!

I honestly have to say that his video presentation was one of the most heart-tugging and inspiring ones I have ever heard!  It actually brought me to tears with its poignant, uplifting story.  Aptly named, you can see his “Power of a Plant” Video Trailer here.  (The Virtual Summit 2017 registration is open through 2017.)

Filmed on location at “his” National Health, Wellness and Learning Center at CS 55 in South Bronx, and across different areas of the South Bronx, the viewer is left with a sense of joy and pride for the students and community in this very underserved area of the U.S.

Stephen’s message of “Si, se puede!” – Yes, you can! – is full of hope, urgency and resiliency and what he calls “Amer-I-can” innovation.

Learn all about Stephen at his Biography.

More about the Book

In The Power of a Plant, Stephen highlights how greening a curriculum allows students to grow their capacity to better their lives and their communities.  Since beginning the program, he has seen near perfect attendance and graduation rates, dramatically increased passing rates on state exams, and behavioral incidents slashed in half.  In this poorest Congressional District in America he has partnered towards 2,200 local jobs, built farms and gardens while changing landscapes and mindsets for residents, students and colleagues.

Along the way, Stephen also lost more than 100 pounds by eating the food that he and his students grew in school!  The book features Stephen Ritz’s cornerstone of learning, “Make Epic Happen,” which is broken down into three main takeaways: collisions, connections, and co-learning.  The Power of a Plant is a story of hope, resilience, regeneration, and optimism.  Since 2014, Ritz has inspired more than 5,000 indoor classroom learning gardens based off his model.

The Power of a Plant Stephen Ritz Available May 2

Praise for The Power of a Plant

Stephen Ritz shares his incredible journey to healthy eating and healthy kids in The Power of a Plant.  Here are just a couple of quotes from people who also love the book:

“Education should not be information overload. It should unleash human potential – which is infinite in its capacity to create, know and solve every conceivable problem. Stephen Ritz has opened a door to this unbounded field of possibilities which he elegantly describes in ‘The Power Of A Plant’.” ~ Deepak Chopra – Author 43 books, NY Times Bestseller, TIME Magazine – Top 100 Heroes and Icons of the Century, Huffington Post – 17th Most Influential Thinker in the World, #1 in Medicine

“This is how change happens, one person at a time, one community at a time. Green Bronx Machine is changing the way children eat, learn and live!” ~ Reverend Al Sharpton; MSNBC / Politics Nation

I’m sure Stephen never started out his teaching career thinking one day he would become such an inspirational and motivational speaker and leader, but he has more than earned this distinctive recognition – with power, grace, dignity, and unbounded energy!

The Power of a Plant Stephen Ritz Available May 2

Order your The Power of a Plant today!

By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP
Greenroofs.com Publisher & Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit Host

Register now and join us online for our 2017 Virtual Summit on demand with live events through December, 2017!

The Power of a Plant Stephen Ritz Available May 2

Watch Educators & Academics and Urban Ag Innovators at the 2017 Virtual Summit

April 19, 2017 at 3:14 pm

Watch Educators Academics Urban Ag Innovators 2017 Virtual Summit

Watch Educators Academics Urban Ag Innovators 2017 Virtual Summit

Have you registered yet? We do hope you’ll join us for our 2017 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit: Connecting the Planet + Living Architecture. Highlighting excellence and lessons learned in green living architecture, the 4th biennial web-based Virtual Summit is being held from April 9 through December 31, 2017.

First Live Event: Friday, Saturday and Sunday

We’ll have a variety of live events scheduled though December 2017 – all with the backdrop of our fantastic speaker videos you can watch on demand from across the globe.  But up first is the Long Earth Day Weekend Live Event this Friday, Saturday and Sunday – don’t miss watching these videos in time for their Q & As!

Watch Educators & Academics and Urban Ag Innovators at the 2017 Virtual Summit!

Watch Educators Academics Urban Ag Innovators 2017 Virtual Summit

For Earth Week we’re highlighting these awesome colleagues and practitioners and their engrossing videos.  First up, the:

Educators & Academics:

Keynote Stephen Ritz, South Bronx Educator, Green Bronx Machine Founder, Author:

The Power of a Plant

Bob Cameron, PhD, Penn State University Adjunct Professor, Eco Applied Technologies Principal:

Fresh Herbs in the Kitchen: How to Construct a Small Scale Aquaponics System for the Home

CY Jim, PhD, University of Hong Kong Professor & Researcher:

Green Roofs Create Oases in the City: Hong Kong

Kelly Ksiazek-Mikenas, PhD candidate, Researcher, Author and Olyssa Starry, PhD, Portland State University Assistant Professor & Author:

Design, Publishing, and Widespread Use of the Children’s Activity Book: Growing UP in the City: A Book About Green Roofs” – a collaborative talk

Leila Tolderlund, LEED AP, GRP, University of Colorado Denver Senior Instructor and Research Associate:

RootDOWN Green Wall at Denver International Airport

And the Urban Ag Innovators:

Zaro Bates, Empress Green Inc. Founder, Staten Island Urby Farmer-in-Residence:

All We See is Green: Intensive Green Roofs and Urban Farming in NYC

Richard Nelson, SolaRoof International CEO & Owner and Chris Wark, Wark Energy Consulting Principal, Ponix Founder:

Food Production and the Built Environment: How Local Can You Go? Controlled-Environmental Agriculture (CEA) Panel

Annie Novak, Growing Chefs Founder & Director, Eagle Street Rooftop Farm Co-founder & Farmer, Author:

The Rooftop Growing Guide: Vegetables, Herbs and Flowers on the Rooftop Landscape

Mary Ostafi, LEED AP, Urban Harvest STL Executive Director 

FOOD ROOF Farm: Grow Food, Grow Community

See the entire Agenda to check out all of our wonderful Speakers and their talks.

Speaker Q & As this Long Earth Day Weekend, April 21, 22 & 23

Watch Educators Academics Urban Ag Innovators 2017 Virtual Summit

Don’t miss our upcoming first live event over the Long Earth Day Weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for Speaker Q & As – see the Agenda for dates and times.

FREE Global Social Media Event

If you’re still considering registering to watch the videos, you can still participate in the Speaker Q & As as this is a FREE global Social Media Event!  Connect with your favorite speakers and we’ll see you online soon!

Thank you to our Partners, and please contact Aramis if you’re interested in being a Sponsor or Exhibitor at aramis@greenroofs.com:

Watch Educators Academics Urban Ag Innovators 2017 Virtual Summit

Watch Educators Academics Urban Ag Innovators 2017 Virtual Summit

By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP
Greenroofs.com Publisher & Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit Host

Register now and join us online for our 2017 Virtual Summit with live events over the Long Earth Day Weekend: April 21, 22, & 23 – and through December, 2017!

Watch Educators Academics Urban Ag Innovators 2017 Virtual Summit

Save the Dates for the 2017 Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit: April 9 – 30!

January 24, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Greenroofs.com is excited to announce the dates for our upcoming 2017 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit: Connecting the Planet + Living Architecture on April 9 – 30!

Save Dates 2017 Greenroofs Walls World Virtual Summit April 9-30

Held previously in 2015, 2013 and 2011, our biennial Virtual Summits have been very successful at bringing together people from around the world to learn, discuss, and network in our fields of green infrastructure and living architecture via the power of the Internet – and we have new speakers and cool special features to make 2017 the best to date!

“Imagine a world of green: What are we doing to advance living architecture?” ~ Greenroofs.com’s Virtual Summits

Building upon these initiatives, our 4th foray into the world of online virtual conferences embraces these awesome, inspiring, and highly esteemed Keynotes confirmed for the 2017 Virtual Summit so far:

EMILIO AMBASZ:
Commendatore (Commander) della Rep. Italiana, Ordine della Stella d’Italia; Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects; Honorary International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects; ISA 2014 Medal for Science, The Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Bologna; First Madre Terra Awardee

Save Dates 2017 Greenroofs Walls World Virtual Summit April 9-30

Emilio Ambasz is a highly acclaimed green architect, award-winning industrial and graphic designer, author, and former Curator of the Department of Architecture and Design for the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, and is best known for his “Green over Gray” philosophy of design sensitivity.  Since its inception in 1976 as building consultants and planners, Emilio Ambasz & Associates has created a belief in and identification with quality to find representative expression in form, performance, added value, and strong symbolic content.

In all its projects, the firm seeks to reconcile the building with nature with the complete integration of building and the landscape.  A pioneer of ecological architecture, just a few of Emilio’s iconic living architecture portfolio projects include the ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall in Japan, Environment Park (EnviPark) in Turin, Italy, and the Veneto Eye Bank Foundation (Fondazione Banca degli Occhi del Veneto Onlus) in Venice, Italy.  The design sense in all three of these examples reconciles a developer’s desire for profitable use of a site with the public’s need for open green space:

Save Dates 2017 Greenroofs Walls World Virtual Summit April 9-30

 

STEPHEN RITZ:
STEM / STEAM Executive Director, National Health, Wellness and Learning Center at CS 55 in South Bronx; Founder of Green Bronx Machine; 2015 Global Teacher Prize Top Ten Finalist; TED TALK 2012: A Teacher Growing Green in the South Bronx

Save Dates 2017 Greenroofs Walls World Virtual Summit April 9-30

For over 30 years Stephen Ritz has been a science teacher/administrator in the nation’s poorest congressional district, the South Bronx.  His mantra is “Si se puede!” (Yes you can!) using “Amer-I-Can” innovation and spirit in his message of hope, urgency, and resilience.  As founder of the student-led Green Bronx Machine, his super-charged energy focuses on education, affordable local food systems, and 21st century workforce development.

Years ago Stephen’s class had the first living wall in an NYC school growing veggies and herbs, and in 2016 opened the National Health, Wellness and Learning Center, a 100+ year old reclaimed school library, with indoor gardens, robotics, a 100% mobile classroom kitchen with broadcast capabilities, solar and pedal power stations, computer lab, outside gardens, and more.  The innovative STEM/STEAM curriculum is integrated with plant-based teaching lessons that align with core school curriculum.  His upcoming book The Power of a Plant: A Teacher’s Odyssey to Grow Healthy Minds and Schools (May 2017), is his inspiring story about how incorporating gardening and plants into teaching curriculum moved the graduation rate of students from 17% to 100% and improved attendance to 93% in his South Bronx high school.

Save Dates 2017 Greenroofs Walls World Virtual Summit April 9-30

New in 2017

For maximum engagement between speakers and participants from across the globe, for the VS 2017 we’ll be offering some very social platforms so you can easily watch your favorite videos then network in real time with your favorite speakers with new ways to connect, watch, and interact.  Come join us online to find out!

People, Projects & Design

Our website and the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summits: Connecting the Planet + Living Architecture have always been focused on People, Projects & Design:

PEOPLE: Creative thinkers, innovators, and trailblazers sharing project-focused organic “vegitecture”

PROJECTS: International icons of sustainability: early successes + current & visionary profiles of excellence in design

DESIGN: Proven standards of diverse green technologies + dynamic and cutting edge designs for greening the planet with building integrated greenery: bioclimatic, biodiversity, biomimicry & chic sustainability

This is what and who we are.  Stay tuned for more exciting information, coming soon!

We’ll keep you posted along the way, but for now please Save the Dates now for April 9 – 30, 2017 for your participation in the 2017 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit: Connecting the Planet + Living Architecture!

By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP
Greenroofs.com Publisher

Vote for the Green Bronx Machine in the Real Food Media Challenge Now!

February 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm

One of the 10 contest finalists, our friends over at the Green Bronx Machine need your support now by voting for them in the Real Food Media Challenge!

RealFoodMediaChallenge

Voting ends this Sunday on March 2, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST, so visit now!

GreenBronxMachine

What is the challenge all about?

“The Contest is the project of the Real Food Media Project, a collaborative initiative using online movies and a web-based action center along with grassroots events around the country to spread the stories of sustainable food and farming. The Project is a program of Corporate Accountability International.” ~ Real Food Media Challenge

What is the Green Bronx Machine all about?  To start, it’s a federally registered and approved non-for-profit organization (501c3) who educates and promotes Urban Greenscaping with Mobile Edible Wall Units, Green Walls and Green Roofs; Urban Agriculture: Indoor, Mobile and Traditional Farming; Economic and Community Development: Youth and Adult Work Force Development and Senior Services, and much more:

GreenBronxMachine-info

“Green Bronx Machine was born of the belief that we are all AMER-I-CANS! Together, we can grow, re-use resources and recycle our way into new and healthy ways of living; complete with self sustaining local economic engines. Inclusively and collectively, each and every member of our society offers a unique perspective with unlimited potential. Together, we can move those who are “apart from” society to become “part of” the driving force behind new solutions benefiting all of us.

Green Bronx Machine believes that the greening of America starts with the greening of hearts, minds and wallets rooted in triple bottom line orientations. Green Bronx Machine is dedicated to changing mind-sets and landscapes while harvesting hope and cultivating opportunities inclusively for all of America. Green Bronx Machine works to weave a city of neighborhoods into a united and prosperous One Bronx / Un Solo Bronx; where people do not have to leave their neighborhood to live, learn and earn in a better one!

Green Bronx Machine is zoned for people to live, work and play. Our hometown city that gave the world hip-hop and phunky fresh beats is now poised to grow and export locally grown, organic red beets along with our talent and diversity. Behold the glory and bounty that is Bronx County! Green Bronx Machine is coming to a city near you soon!” ~ Green Bronx Machine

I’m sure you’re familiar with the Green Bronx Machine’s founder, real go-getter and visionary Bronx educator and activist Stephen Ritz, and all the great work he and his team have done with high school students in the area for the past several years.

GreenBronxMachine-students1

He says,

“Help support my students and me in the Real Food Media Challenge by voting for Green Bronx Machine – the next generation of students who become graduates, citizens, chefs and healthy residents via urban farming – we  would greatly appreciate it while branding The Bronx in a whole new light!” ~ Stephen Ritz

Scroll down the Real Food Media Challenge page to the last video on the left to see their Green Bronx Machine video before voting – it’s only 2:50 long and it’s awesome!

Additional Info About Stephen Ritz:

StevenRitzandtheGreenBronxMachine

He and the Green Bronx Machine have been in the news a lot lately – on a Progressive auto ad, TNT’s Dramatic Difference, The Disney Channel’s Pass the Plate: Urban Farming, TEDx Traverse City in 2013, and here on Greenroofs.com.  We’ve covered him when he spoke at TEDxManhattan in January, 2012 with “Changing the Way We Eat” at the Times Center in New York City.

And you may have seen Steve’s 2011 PowerPoint presentation “The Green Bronx Machine” from our inaugural 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit on greenroofs.tv and our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube.  His presentation gave an overview of some of the issues in the Bronx as well as the positive effects of the Green Bronx Machine.  To watch, click below:

Note:  If you haven’t seen the passionate “Greenroofs & Walls for Educational & Social Equity in the Bronx” Panel Session that accompanied “The Green Bronx Machine” PowerPoint yet, please do – there is a lot of great interaction and information here among this very distinguished group of New Yorkers including New York State Senator Gustavo RiveraBronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.(Moderator) Robert BiederJon BeuttlerJess DannhauserJavier Lopez and Steve Ritz Just click below.

Remember, voting for the Green Bronx Machine in the Real Food Media Challenge ends March 2nd at 11:59 pm EST.  Please show your support for growing fresh local produce on greenwalls, greenroofs, and community gardening by casting your vote for the Green Bronx Machine!

As Steven says, Sí, se puede!  Yes, we can!

~ Happy Greening, Linda V.