Mediterranean Diet: Lifestyle for a Sustainable Future
On Monday, April 11th – Pollica, UNESCO Mediterranean Diet Emblematic Communities delegation gifts seeds of the Mediterranean Diet for Green Bronx Machine school garden in partnership with New York City Mayor’s office.
Green Bronx Machine with CS 55 of the South Bronx, School of IC Patroni of Pollica (Italy), and the Future Food Institute sign a Memorandum of Understanding to promote joint programs and sustainable food initiatives.
Newswise — South Bronx, New York: On Monday, April 11, at 9:00 p.m. EST, the event “THE POWER OF SEEDS – Growing Healthy Communities – Mediterranean Diet for a Sustainable Future,” was held in collaboration with the New York City Mayor’s Office at Community School 55, where Stephen Ritz started Green Bronx Machine. The Italian delegation will be composed of Stefano Pisani, Mayor of Pollica and Sara Roversi, President of the Future Food Institute.
The event included the planting of the seeds of the Mediterranean Diet in the school garden and a banquet. This symbolic moment marked the collaboration of the School IC Patroni of Pollica, the Community School 55 of the South Bronx, and the Future Food Institute. A Memorandum of Understanding aimed at promoting exchange activities was signed, including a joint digital educational path, food and climate literacy workshops, and a summer school to be held at Future Food Institute’s Paideia Campus in Pollica, a hub that hosts international programs on integral ecology, regenerative agriculture, and food systems transformation.
The event ended with the delivery of the seeds of the Mediterranean Diet by Mayor Stefano Pisani to Kate MacKenzie, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy of the City of New York, to emphasize the strong link that binds the City of Pollica with the United States in the name of American scientists Ancel Keys and Margaret Haney, who studied the model and coined the concept “Mediterranean Diet.”
After World War II, Ancel Keys (inventor of the “K ration”) and Margaret Haney, moved to Pioppi, a village in the Cilento municipality of Pollica, and intrigued by the longevity of the local population, studied the correlation between the local lifestyle and the epidemiological incidence of cardiovascular disease. The scientists codified the fundamental characteristics that are common to the traditional diets of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea (from Spain to the Greek islands, passing through Southern Italy). A path that led to the discovery of the benefits of what, in the sixties, they defined for the first time “Mediterranean Diet.”“I am so excited to join Green Bronx Machine, our international colleagues from Italy, and the students of Community School 55 for today’s Power of Seeds – Growing Healthy Communities seed planting and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to promote future exchange opportunities,” said Kate MacKenzie, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy. “Programs like this, that foster knowledge and appreciation of the intersection between the food we eat and where it came from, are critical to the health of our students and of our planet.”
The New York City Mayor’s Office of Food Policy works to advance the City’s efforts to increase food security, promote access to and consumption of healthy foods, and support economic opportunity and environmental sustainability in the food system. The Office has a critical role to play integrating an equity frame into food policy priorities and solutions. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/food.
Stephen Ritz, lecturer and innovator is one of the most beloved and influential disseminators of nutrition education. With Green Bronx Machine, he started in New York with his “Tower Garden,” where he developed an educational program that sees teaching how to garden as the pillar of an educational model that focuses on “care” for life, health, and the environment. Ritz has created gardens in thousands of schools around the world. The model of “urban farming” and “food literacy,” which has involved hundreds of thousands of children, often disadvantaged, educating them in a healthy diet, is now a partner of Future Food Institute, Mediterranean Diet Study Center “Angelo Vassallo,” and Campustore with a project proposed under the PON Edugreen for the ecological transition of Italian schools. Stephen Ritz, Founder of Green Bronx Machine shares his excitement about this new collaboration and event: “Green Bronx Machine is all about harvesting minds and cultivating hope: we’re seed spreaders and peace promoters and our students and community are thrilled and honored to host the Italian Delegation and NYC Mayor’s Office for this historic event. These seeds are wholly emblematic of growing something greater! From the Bronx, to the world, we are all global citizens committed to inspiring healthy living, learning, and respecting our planet and each other!”
“The Mediterranean Diet represents a sustainable lifestyle that truly safeguards individual, community, and planetary health. We are thrilled to further strengthen Future Food’s relationship with Green Bronx Machine and the people of New York City through this shared exploration of Mediterranean values, climate literacy, and community development.
Empowering youth to act for a better future is one of our main goals. That’s why the cornerstone of the Institute is Education through unique learning platforms, including K-12 programs and summer schools. Future Food is developing a series of experience-based classes, adopting creative learning methodologies, “prosperity thinking” and transformational experiences, and being always focused on making the “Humana communitas” the center of the equation.
With this vision, today we are renewing our long term alliance with our dearest partners: Green Bronx Machine and the Mediterranean Diet Study Center of Pollica, we need to be inclusive and stronger together in fixing the climate crisis, giving new generations the power to raise their voices through skills, tools, opportunities to put the environmental issues on top of the humans’ agenda,” noted Sara Rovers, Founder and President of the Future Food Institute
Stefano Pisani – Mayor of Pollica, Emblematic Community UNESCO for Mediterranean Diet: “We are happy to kick off the international missions of 2022 with New York. An event that wants to emphasize the great sensitivity of the City of NY on the issues of health and sustainability, but also highlights the great closeness between our countries. The two scientists who first studied the effects of our lifestyle (Ancel and Margaret Keys) lived many years in our dear Pollica and this relationship gave rise to an exceptional discovery that today is the Intangible Heritage of Humanity: The Mediterranean Diet.
Today we symbolically reconnect Italy to the United States through the Mediterranean Diet, starting from young people and schools thanks to the twinning between the Institute of Pollica and the Community School 55.
In the coming year, we are faced with a demanding challenge, but at the same time exciting. With the coordination action to be put in place in 2022, we will not only be able to consolidate and strengthen the value of the Mediterranean lifestyle as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as recognized by UNESCO, but it will be essential to be able to affirm the Mediterranean Diet as a new paradigm of sustainable development. A cultural heritage that combines one of the healthiest and most sustainable diets in the world, through its traditional and cultural practices promotes a high quality of life, ensuring the preservation of biodiversity of our planet, will have to become a priority for the Mediterranean countries in 2022, also for the post COVID restart.”