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Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr Testimonial

“Through Steve Ritz, we are telling a new Bronx story!”

– Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Stephen’s program is sustainable because he has brought in all the stakeholders, (teachers, parents, administrators, and students) and uses state accredited curriculum. By using food and plant life cycles to teach other subjects he incorporates health, wellbeing, and the environment around them with positive steps to academic success. One big take away when observing children interacting in this program is that it is not at all about the instructors, it is about the children, creating their own environment and solutions. It is creating this sense of wonder for children to explore and discover. It encourages discovery and critical thinking – skills that can be used in any aspect of life.

– Dr. Katie Wilson, USDA, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services

“…most people talk about making healthy changes in their diet and lifestyle; Stephen Ritz embodies these changes every day, personally and for “his kids”, locally for his neighborhood and even globally. Stephen is an inspiration to us all to take responsibility to make personal changes and to make our world a better place…one seed at a time.”

– Steven G. Ullmann, PhD. Professor and Chair, Department, Health Sector Management and Policy, University of Miami School of Business Administration, Coral Gables, Florida

“Stephen Ritz personifies inspiration. In the face of adversity most people wilt – not Stephen – he turned despair into opportunity and introduced a school and a community to possibility. His words of motivation translate well beyond the South Bronx children he has thought for three decades. He is a spokesperson for the how purposeful agenda can transform any organization and solve any problem.”

– Mitch Roschelle, Partner and Practice Leader PwC, Trustee PwC Charitable Foundation


“Every kid should be involved in it. The Green Bronx Machine program [has] the best after school program [at] C.S. 55. I’m really grateful for this program because it’s taught my granddaughter so much: how to eat healthy food, how to cook healthy. She’s even taught the family about healthy foods. She tells me, “don’t eat this,” and “that’s not healthy,” because I’m getting older. “You should buy this, and this, and this one, because this one contains too much salt and too much sugar,” and I listen to her because she’s right.”


“My son was with Green Bronx Machine for a little over two years. His experience was wonderful. Mr. and Mrs. Ritz are more than just teachers – they’ve become family. My son had trouble in school, and Green Bronx Machine has always been open for him, has always welcomed him. He makes better choices now, like when we go to the store. He won’t pick chips anymore, now he picks mixed nuts. He loves salad. He helps out in the kitchen now, and in the kitchen, he’s learned how to try new things. My son is a relatively reserved child, he doesn’t open up that much to people, and working with him in the kitchen is opening up communication with him. My kids aren’t that trusting of people, but they trust Mr. and Mrs. Ritz. I know my son has a safe place to be when he’s not having a great day at school.”


“It puts a big smile on my face when I walk into the class and everyone has their heads in a book, pen to paper, taking care of the plants and cooking, [or] making smoothies. They’re always doing something new and learning something new. My daughter comes home excited to share what she did in school. I went to the same school, and I can honestly say, we did not have a program like this. To have this now is amazing.”


“I love Green Bronx Machine’s program – three of my children came here already. I became interested and after I met Mrs. Ritz, I just fell in love with her and everything that she does with the students – how they grow their vegetables, how healthy they eat. I want to incorporate that into my house – healthy eating and healthy habits. So far, my son has been eating things I never thought he’d try. As a hard working parent, you sometimes don’t have the funds for programs like this. I’m very proud this program exists for children in families like us.”