Green Bronx Machine and Quest Diagnostics Foundation Team Up to Expand Acclaimed Indoor Gardening Curriculum to Inspire Healthier Students
Newswise — Bronx, N.Y./Secaucus, N.J, Feb. 15, 2022: Green Bronx Machine, a transformational educational nonprofit helping students and teachers turn classrooms into agricultural learning experiences, today announced a collaboration with the Quest Diagnostics Foundation, that will enable Green Bronx Machine to reach students in 30 underserved schools in Colorado, Ohio, and New York.
In these classrooms, students and teachers will grow vegetables using the Tower Gardens® aeroponic growing system and use plant life to teach multiple subjects including science, math, and language arts. Beyond academics, the food grown is used to enhance the health of the students and their communities through improved nutrition.
“The best investment we can make is in our youth,” said Stephen Ritz, CEO and founder of Green Bronx Machine. “I want to help grow the next generation of high performing schools, highly successful students, and happy, healthy and high-performing teachers. With the support of the Quest Diagnostics Foundation, we’ll be able to significantly expand our reach, increase health equity, create more opportunities for historically underserved communities and, through all of this, make a better world.”
Ritz, an internationally acclaimed award-winning educator, founded Green Bronx Machine as an after-school program to engage failing students. The program utilizes urban agriculture and education to help support the needs of food insecure individuals, educate minds, and feed students and their communities. To date, Green Bronx Machine’s project-based learning program has engaged over 100,000 students in 20 states and six nations, generating significant academic student achievement and increased graduation rates, improved health outcomes, and key insights into how food justice, food access, and overall well-being are interconnected.
One major supporter of Green Bronx Machine is Eric Adams, the mayor of New York City. According to Adams, “Improved nutrition education in our schools will be critical to combat the chronic health conditions found in our communities, which are due in large part to limited knowledge of, and exposure to, healthy foods among our youth. Green Bronx Machine has found an innovative way to tackle this and will continue to play a crucial role in supporting the healthy development of our communities—one student at a time, one community at a time.”
The Quest Diagnostics Foundation, as part of the Quest for Health Equity (Q4HE) initiative, is providing a grant to Green Bronx Machine to support expanding its programming to 30 schools. Q4HE is a multi-year initiative of Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX) and the Quest Diagnostics Foundation focused on providing a combination of donated testing services, education programs, partnerships, and funding to support initiatives to close the gap in healthcare disparities in underserved communities.
“We are proud to team up with Green Bronx Machine in supporting its mission to educate and inspire young people while creating better health outcomes for their communities,” said Ruth Clements, President of the Quest Diagnostics Foundation. “In doing so we are helping to reduce health care disparities in underserved communities.”
The Quest Diagnostics Foundation will support Green Bronx Machine to expand its reach into lower-income communities, with a focus on strengthening access to nutritious food while inspiring students through dynamic educational experiences. These schools will receive: Green Bronx Machine’s licensed curriculum; the Tower Gardens® aeroponic growing system which students use to grow vegetables; professional development and coaching for educators, and ongoing programmatic support to ensure successful outcomes.
“With the help of the Quest Diagnostics Foundation, we will be able to increase access to nutritious food while delivering proven, data-driven, project-based, hands-on, innovative, educational opportunities,” said Ritz.