Special-education teacher Stephen Ritz has helped transform his native South Bronx by inspiring students and the community to grow more than 30,000 pounds of fresh produce. Now he's bringing his message from New York City to Lawrence.
Ritz's program, known as the Green Bronx Machine, encourages students to garden, eat healthy and sell produce. His goal is to turn the New York borough green by planting gardens everywhere: walls, roofs, medians.
Ritz will give a presentation at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Carnegie Building, 200 W. Ninth St. The event, sponsored by Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, is free and open to the public. During the day, he will meet with local community leaders involved in such projects as community gardens, school gardens and food cooperatives.
Ritz advocates for kids staying in their own communities and building them into healthier places for themselves and future generations. The Green Bronx Machine is helping not only to grow the economy in the poorest Congressional district in the U.S. but also fresh produce to give its residents more nutritious food to eat.
“We grow fruit and vegetables, using no fossil fuels, while helping people get healthy and creating jobs for underprivileged youths," he told Metro U.S. "Urban gardening is edible, successful, profitable and replicable.”