Stephen Ritz, Founder of the Green Bronx Machine, talks about seeding change in the Bronx and beyond, by teaching his students and the wider community how to grow food, build sustainably, participate in the green economy, and transform mindsets and landscapes in the inner city.
Anya Kamenetz writes about the future of education. In 2011, Learning, Freedom and the Web and The Edupunks’ Guide were published as free ebooks by the Mozilla and Gates Foundation respectively. Anya also penned Generation Debt which dealt with youth economics and politics. Her book DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education investigated innovations to address the crises in cost, access, and quality in higher education. She was named a 2010 Game Changer in Education by the Huffington Post and received 2009 and 2010 National Awards for Education Reporting from the Education Writers Association.
Since 2005, South Bronx teacher/administrator Stephen Ritz has grown attendance rates at his school from 40 to 93 percent. How? By teaching students how to grow food. Stephen’s extended student body and community have grown over 25 thousand pounds of vegetables in the Bronx, providing healthy food where it is desperately needed – and teaching valuable career skills along the way. To date, 2,200 youth jobs emerged through Stephen’s organization, Green Bronx Machine. Father to many, hero to all (and dubbed “the Pied Piper of Peas”), Stephen has captured an EPA Award for transforming mindsets and landscapes in New York City, while helping 5,000-plus students in the Green Bronx Machine earn a living wage, en route to graduation.