Cover image of Stephen Ritz

Stephen Ritz

22 Podcast Episodes

Latest 18 Sep 2021 | Updated Daily

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

Episode artwork

34. From Bullies to Broccoli: 100 lbs Lost and the Green Bronx Machine with Stephen Ritz

Feeling Full

Stephen Ritz is widely known as “America’s Favorite Teacher.” After losing over 100 pounds and changing his life. Stephen created the first edible classroom in the world. He and his students have grown more than 100,000 pounds of vegetables in the South Bronx, and in the process, Stephen has moved school attendance from 40% to 93% daily, and helped to provide 2,200 youths with jobs in the Bronx. In our conversation, we discuss the many challenges faced by children growing up in the South Bronx, and his journey to provide health and hope to over 3 decades of children.“Its easier to get a handgun in this community than it is to get a fresh head of lettuce”  ~Stephen Ritz HighlightsAt one point Stephen was over 300 pounds. Food was a big part of Stephen’s identity.He realized that he was overweight while advocating for healthy food in his school system, so he started to eat healthier.A child can’t be well-read if they aren’t well-fed.The Bronx has one of the highest fast food growth rates in the nation.Stephen believes that food justice is racial justice. Access to healthy and fresh foods should be a basic human right.At one point, Stephen’s class of 17 troubled students, planted over 15,000 plant bulbs around the city. That was the beginning of their movement for urban remediation.At that point, he realized the importance of engaging kids.The Green Bronx Machine has partnered for 2200 living wage jobs.When you teach children about nature you teach them about nurture.They decided to grow food and were allowed to sell some of their produce in Whole Foods.Stephen’s students later won the National Indoor Gardening Championship. They built one of the largest commercial farms in the South Bronx and annexed it next to a culinary kitchen.The group discovered tower gardens and began to use them as an integral part of learning.During the pandemic, they delivered over 100,000 pounds of food to 2300 families.Children are disconnected from food. Connecting kids to what their food is and where it comes from, helps them become part of the ecosystem.Show Resources: Stephen Ritz's Ted Talk: https://bit.ly/2VF9YhnDonate: https://bit.ly/37Bj2G8The Power of A Plant: https://amzn.to/3ABFtHGStephen on Instagram: https://bit.ly/3fY1bxEStephen on Facebook: https://bit.ly/3jQVjHRGreen Bronx Machine Swag: https://bit.ly/3CDMjOJ

1hr 14mins

12 Aug 2021

Episode artwork

#60: Becoming a Top Ten Finalist for the Global Teacher Prize - Stephen Ritz

Grateful Living

Stephen Ritz is a South Bronx educator who believes that students should not have to leave their community to live, learn, and earn in a better one. An internationally acclaimed award-winning educator, Stephen is the author of the best-selling book, The Power Of A Plant, and founder of Green Bronx Machine. Stephen was a Top Ten Finalist for the Global Teacher Prize, named Global Humanitarian, Food Tank Hero, TEDx Prize Winner and a Global Food Educator, and has presented at the Obama White House three times. He and his students have grown more than 100,000 pounds of vegetables in the South Bronx, and in the process, Stephen has moved school attendance from 40% to 93% daily and helped provide 2,200 youth jobs in the Bronx. In this interview, we talk about: - Stephen’s journey from pursuing professional basketball to becoming a teacher in the South Bronx - Stephen’s thoughts on changing the narrative for students and education in lower socioeconomic areas - Stephen’s advice for other teachers looking to make great impact - Stephen’s journey from having students grow vegetables as a way to learn to turning that into a full blown curriculum Stephen's Website: https://stephenritz.com/ Green Bronx Machine Website: https://greenbronxmachine.org/ Grateful Living Website: http://grateful4living.com/​ My Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aroy81547/?...​ To Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3Hn4ttt...​ To Listen on Apple Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast...​ YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9Bo...​ Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/gratefulliving4

1hr 21mins

7 Jun 2021

Similar People

Episode artwork

151. #KyleTalksAgtech: Passionately educating future farmers and inspiring the young and old w/ Stephen Ritz


Skip your morning cup of coffee before listening to Stephen Ritz's episode of CropTalk #KyleTalksAgTech! Stephen is sure to inspire and entertain you as we walk through the impressive work he is doing educating students via the Green Bronx Machine and his PBS show.  If you are looking for some inspiration, this is the episode for you!  


1 Jun 2021

Episode artwork

Living to the PLUS #71- Stephen Ritz and the Green Bronx Machine

Living to the Plus

Stephen Ritz is one of my biggest idols. A Teacher from the Bronx who discovered that kids can learn and have a brighter future through learning how to grow their own food. He has help generations of kids get out of a life of broken homes, crime, poverty and hopelessness. I hope to accomplish something similar in my life by spreading this message and hitting the streets. Check out Stephen's book "Power of the Plant" to read his whole story. YouTube Link- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF6qTlgtHU0&t=17s


28 Apr 2021

Most Popular

Episode artwork

023: Stephen Ritz - Green Bronx Machine

Polygreens Podcast

In this episode Joe and Nick interview Stephen Ritz about urban farming and growing food in classrooms. Stephen Ritz is a South Bronx educator who believes that students shouldn’t have to leave their community to live, learn, and earn in a better one. Moving generations of students into spheres of personal and academic successes which they had never imagined — while reclaiming and rebuilding the Bronx — Stephen’s extended student and community family have grown more than 100,000 pounds of vegetables in the Bronx while generating extraordinary academic performance.More about Stephen Ritz: Website: https://stephenritz.comMore about Joe Swartz:Website: https://amhydro.com/Twitter: https://twitter.com/HydroConsultantMore about Nick Greens: Website: https://www.nickgreens.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/InfoGreensSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/nickgreens)


23 Apr 2021

Episode artwork

003: Help the Children Become Happier, Healthier, and High-Performers One Vegetable Garden at a Time with Stephen Ritz

Essential Ingredients Podcast

“When you teach kids about food, you teach them about life. You teach them that you can't rush growth. You can't go from seed to harvest without cultivation in the middle.”  - Stephen Ritz  Today, we’re delighted to have a powerful conversation with Steve Ritz, an internationally acclaimed award-winning educator, best-selling author, and founder of Green Bronx Machine. Education has always been an excellent avenue for creating the transformation we want. But like any path, it has some obstacles of its own. What if we can solve some of these barriers through the power of food? Steve talks about the benefits of bringing vegetable cultivation as a part of the curriculum in terms of student performance, teacher satisfaction, and parent engagement. Amazingly, we're also speaking about reaping these advantages for a long time. He also narrates the inspiring experiences of kids who benefited from this project. Food is not only created to fill and satisfy an empty stomach. Listen as Steve talks about how the process itself of growing, cultivating, and nurturing it can also unlock the greatness in all of us and awaken the spirit of equality and unity. Truly, food is a language we all should start learning and using more often. Check out today's episode and be amazed at how food is changing schools one vegetable garden at a time.       Connect with Justine:  Website Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Connect with NextGenChef: Website Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube NextGenChef App Episode Highlights: 02:18 It All Started With A Dream 06:01 Food Justice Is Racial Justice 12:09 Unity In The Community 16:32 Scaling All Over The World 24:55 Farming Is The New Sexy 27:54 Growing A Greener World 32:46 Start In Order To Be Great 35:00 Sustainable Gangster


19 Jan 2021

Episode artwork

181-The Power of a Plant: Stephen Ritz and His Incredible Green Bronx Machine

The joe gardener Show - Organic Gardening - Vegetable Gardening - Expert Garden Advice From Joe Lamp'l

Gardeners know that eating food you grew yourself raises your spirits in a way that few things can. My guest this week, educator and author of The Power of a Plant, Stephen Ritz, recognized the benefit of growing edible plants to enrich students’ bodies and minds in a variety of ways, and his Green Bronx Machine has now inspired a documentary on the far-reaching benefits of raising and sharing nutritious food.


5 Nov 2020

Episode artwork

OFR S1 | E3 Stephen Ritz Green Bronx Machine/ Urban Gardener/ Educator

Open Field Radio

This week on OFR we talk with Stephen Ritz, Founder of Green Bronx Machine. Self-proclaimed CEO – Chief Eternal Optimist – of Bronx County.20+ years of experience as an educator, administrator, urban farmer. And, with a legendary TED talk to his name, this is a conversation you won’t want to miss.


1 Oct 2020

Episode artwork

How Plants Heal Marginalized Communities: Stephen Ritz's GreenBronxMachine

The Sonya Looney Show

Infectious positivity, inspirational curiousity, humor, and you Stephen Ritz is a South Bronx educator who believes that students should not have to leave their community to live, learn, and earn in a better one. An internationally acclaimed award-winning educator, Stephen is the author of the best-selling book, The Power Of A Plant, and founder of Green Bronx Machine. Known as “America’s Favorite Teacher,” Stephen is responsible for creating the first edible classroom in the world, which he has evolved into the National Health, Wellness and Learning Center. He and his students have grown more than 100,000 pounds of vegetables in the South Bronx, and in the process, Stephen has moved school attendance from 40% to 93% daily and helped provide 2,200 youth jobs in the Bronx. Stephen was a Top Ten Finalist for the Global Teacher Prize, named Global Humanitarian, Food Tank Hero, TEDx Prize Winner and a Global Food Educator, and has presented at the Obama White House three times. A replica of his classroom was installed in the US Botanic Gardens in Washington, DC. His curriculum is being used in hundreds of schools across the United States, and internationally from Colombia to Dubai, from Canada to Cairo, to Doha, and beyond. He has even met the Pope! To date, Stephen’s work has been featured by Forbes, Fast Company, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, TNT, Disney, Discovery TV, NPR, Teach Middle East, The Gulf National, and countless others. His TED talk boasts more than 1 million views, ranks in the Top 10 Food/Education TED Talks of all time, and is used for teacher training/workforce development globally. Stephen was featured in the film adaptation of Michael Pollan’s best-selling book, In Defense of Food and appeared on ABC’s The Chew, The Rockefeller Foundation’s Food for Thought, NPR’s 50 Great Teachers, All Things Considered, and American Graduate. The State University of New York uses his curriculum to train teachers in all content areas. His recent appearance on PBS’ Growing A Greener World (Episode 808) won an Emmy Award, and he and his students were recently featured on the covers of TIME for KIDS and Scholastic Magazine. Stephen splits his time between his home in the Bronx and his residence in The Sustainable City in Dubai, UAE, where he serves as Director of Health, Wellness and Innovation for Esol Education at Fairgreen International School. Currently, Stephen is working with Anthem Blue Cross / Blue Shield to bring Green Bronx Machine programming to 22 American cities across 19 states. He holds advanced degrees in special education, administration and school leadership, and an honorary Ph.D. from the State University of New York for his award-winning curriculum. Affectionately known as America’s Favorite Teacher, Stephen has taught extensively in elementary, middle, and high school settings has served as a school leader in a variety of capacities and has lectured at colleges and universities around the globe. Additionally, he has created workforce development programs for people of determination, disconnected youth, and second opportunity adults that have resulted in over 2,200 jobs. Topics Discussed in the Podcast  Why he wears a cheese hat How he lost 100 lbs Social determinants of health from inequities Food deserts and food swamps how he created the first edible classroom How he is transforming the Bronx why plants are the lynchpin to changing the world Listen Now   Resources Green Bronx Machine Website Stephen Ritz TED Talk Books Mentioned Stephen Ritz's book: The Power of a Plant 2 Ways to Give Back to the Show ____________   Don’t Miss an Episode: Subscribe!

1hr 3mins

13 Aug 2020

Episode artwork

July 13, 2020 Garden Ideas to Boost Curb Appeal, Julius Caesar, Jane Loudon, John Charles Frémont, John Clare, The Power of a Plant by Stephen Ritz, and the Fairchild Tropical Garden

The Daily Gardener

Today we celebrate the Roman leader who is still honored with flowers. We'll also learn about one of the best botanical writers of all time. We celebrate the man remembered with the naming of the Cottonwood. We also celebrate the life of a beloved English poet through his poetry - every year on this day, he is still remembered with flowers. We Grow That Garden Library™ with a book about a teacher from the Bronx who germinated an idea and started a movement, changing his life and the lives of his students. And then we'll wrap things up with the inspiring story of the Fairchild Tropical Garden. But first, let's catch up on some Greetings from Gardeners around the world and today's curated news.   Subscribe Apple | Google | Spotify | Stitcher | iHeart   Gardener Greetings To participate in the Gardener Greetings segment, send your garden pics, stories, birthday wishes and so forth to Jennifer@theDailyGardener.org And, to listen to the show while you're at home, just ask Alexa or Google to play The Daily Gardener Podcast. It's that easy.   Jennifer's Pesto Resources (During the Pandemic) Pine Nuts from Amazon   Curated News 12 front garden ideas – inviting designs to boost your curb appeal | Real Homes These front garden ideas will transform your home, creating a smarter and more individual look 1. Keep The Route To The Front Door Simple 2. Choose Big Plant Pots To Create An Impactful Look 3. Choose Sympathetic Materials For The Path 4. Highlight Your Front Door 5. Hide The Bins In A Bin Shed 6. Pay Attention To Paintwork In A Small Front Garden 7. Paint Your Front Gate An Inviting Colour 8. Choose Cost-effective Gravel To Cover Ugly Surfaces 9. Parking Or Garden? 10. Choose A Planting Structure For Year-Round Interest 11. Pick A Front Garden Colour Scheme 12. Consider Front Garden Security   Alright, that's it for today's gardening news. Now, if you'd like to check out my curated news articles and blog posts for yourself, you're in luck, because I share all of it with the Listener Community in the Free Facebook Group - The Daily Gardener Community. There's no need to take notes or search for links - the next time you're on Facebook, search for Daily Gardener Community and request to join. I'd love to meet you in the group.   Important Events 100BC    Today is the birthday of the Roman leader Julius Caesar. On this day, Romans lay a wreath at his statue and throw flowers in the Forum where Caesar was murdered.   1858   Today is the anniversary of the death of Jane Loudon, who married the prolific garden writer and publisher: John Claudius Loudon. Jane was a fantastic writer in her own right, but she also possessed an inner determination; she was a survivor. When her father lost the family fortune and died penniless when Jane was only seventeen, it marked the beginning of her career writing Science Fiction. In her books, Jane wrote about cultural and technological advancements that eventually came to pass. For instance, the women in her books wore pants. In any case, her successful book, The Mummy was published anonymously, in 1827, in three parts. Now, in one of her books, Jane featured something she imagined would come to pass: a steam plow. And that concept attracted the attention of John Claudius Loudon - her future husband. Loudon wrote a favorable review of her book, but he also wanted to meet the author. Loudon didn't realize Jane had written the book using a nom de plume of Henry Colburn. Well, long story short and much to Loudon's delight, Henry was Jane; they fell in love and married a year later. The Loudons were considered high society, and they called Charles Dickens, a friend. As John and Jane grew old together, John's arms stopped working as he grew older, after an attack of rheumatic fever. As a result, Jane became John's arms, and she handled most of his writing. And, when his arms got so bad that surgeons needed to amputate his right arm, they found him in his garden, which he said he intended to return to immediately after the operation. Two weeks before Christmas in 1843, John was dictating his last book to Jane, and the book was called, A Self Instruction to Young Gardeners. Around midnight, he suddenly collapsed into Jane's arms and died. To honor John's memory,  Jane completed the book on her own.   1890  Today is the anniversary of the death of the American explorer, soldier, and the first Presidential candidate of the Republican Party, John Charles Frémont. Frémont is remembered as "The Pathfinder" after helping many Americans who were heading West by creating documents and maps of his expeditions. In fact, John and his wife, Jesse, created an entire map of the Oregon Trail.   Now, when Frémont saw Nebraska for the first time, he didn't see merely an endless prairie; he saw beauty. To Fremont, the entire state was one big garden, accentuated with fertile soil, swaying grasses, and wildflowers as far as the eye could see. Fremont was one of the first explorers to write about cottonwood trees. He discovered them near Pyramid Lake in Nevada on Jan 6, 1844. Years later, botanists would name the Cottonwood in his honor, calling it the "Populus fremontii." Cottonwoods are the fastest growing trees in North America. And, the Cottonwood was sacred to Native Americans. To the Apaches, the Cottonwood was a symbol of the sun. In Northern Mexico, Cottonwood boughs were used in funeral rights, and the Cottonwood was a symbol of the afterlife.  And, there's an old Native American Legend that tells how the Cottonwood tree gave birth to the stars. For a time, the tree held the stars and kept them safe. But then, one late spring, the stars were released until they filled the night sky. And, every spring, we can remember the legend when we see the female trees release their star-shaped seeds into the air.  Now when I was growing up, all of the beautiful elm trees at my childhood home succumbed to Dutch elm disease.  My parents selected cottonwoods because they knew they would grow quickly -  up to six feet or more each year. They couldn't stand how naked the house looked without the beautiful large elm trees. In truth, there's no comparison between a cottonwood tree and an elm tree, which is regarded as one of the most beautiful trees by landscape painters. Still, Cottonwood trees do grow quickly. But be forewarned: Cottonwood trees often have weak wood that can easily be injured or damaged. Cottonwood trees are in the Poplar species. Only the female trees produce the fluffy cotton seeds that float through the air and collect in your garden and garage in June.    Unearthed Words Today is the birthday of the English poet John Clare who was born on this day in 1793. Each year on his birthday, the children of his village make little flower posies, and then they lay them on his grave where they read poems they write in his honor.   All nature has a feeling: woods, fields, brooks Are life eternal; and in silence they Speak happiness beyond the reach of books; There's nothing mortal in them; their decay Is the green life of change; to pass away And come again in blooms revivified. Its birth was heaven, eternal is its stay, And with the sun and moon shall still abide Beneath their day and night and heaven wide. — John Clare, English poet,  All Nature Has a Feeling   Loud is the summer's busy song The smallest breeze can find a tongue, While insects of each tiny size Grow teasing with their melodies, Till noon burns with its blistering breath Around, and day lies still as death. — John Clare, English poet, July   Grow That Garden Library The Power of a Plant by Stephen Ritz This book came out in 2017, and the subtitle is A Teacher's Odyssey to Grow Healthy Minds and Schools. Stephen Ritz is the founder of Green Bronx Machine and has devoted his teaching career to improving health and academic results for children in the South Bronx. His work has been featured by major media and documentaries, including Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, and his TEDx talk has been viewed over one million times. Dubbed the Pied Piper of Peas, Ritz and his family reside in the Bronx and continue to farm with children all year round. Tom Colicchio said, "The only thing bigger than the impact Stephen has had helping countless students understand the importance of their food choices is his infectious personality. The Power of a Plant outlines the remarkable work he has done to date and provides a blueprint for how educators around the world can implement his learnings effectively." The book is 304 pages of Stephen's's story - "a green teacher from the Bronx who let one idea germinate into a movement and changed his students'' lives by learning alongside them." You can get a copy of The Power of a Plant by Stephen Ritz and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for around $7.   Today's Botanic Spark 1986  On this day, The Billings Gazette ran a story about the Fairchild Tropical Garden in a post called Florida Garden is a Must for Touring Northerners. It starts out this way: "Northern garden-lovers looking for a lush botanical escape from their own barren landscapes claim that this garden is at its best when northern winters are at their worst. Others say that it is prettiest right now and in the fall. In any case, this 83-acre botanical garden just south of Miami's Coconut Grove is a four-season attraction for those who are interested in plants, beauty, or in oddities. The Fairchild Tropical Garden is a distinguished first cousin of the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, a place where rare plants are preserved, the public is educated, and serious research is conducted. Be forewarned that a visit can quickly reduce the most seasoned gardener to amateur status. You may know all about the different kinds of Iris and Lilacs, all about how to prune raspberries or harden off Tomato starts; you may even know your way around rare shrubs and trees. But what do you know about Lilly Pilly, Bushman's poison, Cannonball trees, or Shower-of-Orchid vines? A trip to Fairchild Tropical Garden is like a trip to a foreign country - actually, several foreign countries. More than 4,000 different plants from Australia, Sumatra, the Bahamas, Burma, South Africa, Jamaica, Zamboanga, and many other tropical regions have taken root here. There are Ficus Trees considerably larger than the one under your skylight. In fact, only a few representative species are grown here because of the great area each mature one requires. A single tree has been known to cover acres! "Ficus" means fig, and some kinds do bear edible fruit. So do some members of the philodendron family, which grow outdoors here year-round. One, called "Monstera deliciosa" (believe it or not), sets fruit that is among the world's most delectable. The Bromeliads... can be seen here growing on and among rocks and trees... There are ...  jewel-colored tropical Water Lilies, ... Orchids that bloom year-round on the grounds … the orange and purple Bird-of-Paradise and the Columbian Flamingo Flower, or Anthurium, which looks a bit like a shiny red patent-leather Calla Lily. Many of the plants are definitely odd. The 40-foot-tall Cannonball Tree, a native timber tree in some South American countries, produces fragrant, fleshy, 6-inch purple blossoms on strange special branches that the trunk sprouts near the ground at flowering time. These are followed by 8-inch rusty cannonballs, dangling from heavy strings suspended from the trunk, that make a noise when the wind blows them against one another. In their native South American countries, these "cannonballs" are often hollowed out and turned into drinking cups. Another curiosity is the Calabash tree, whose egg-shaped fruit, when dried and filled with seed or BB shot, becomes the maracas familiar in Latin music. The garden is named after Dr. David Fairchild, an American plant explorer responsible for introducing many important species and varieties of plants to us, such as soybeans, dates, and improved varieties of rice, wheat and cotton. He was a close friend of the garden's founder, a New York tax attorney named Col. Robert H. Montgomery [co-founders of what is today the world's largest accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers. Montgomery] spent his fortune on collecting tropical plants and providing a place for them to grow. The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road, Miami."" During the pandemic, the Garden is open every day, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., with special times available for seniors and individuals who identify as vulnerable. For your safety and theirs, guests and members must preregister for timed entry. Reserve Your Timed Ticket and Review their COVID Policies and Procedures on their website.


13 Jul 2020