Atlanta, Georgia: On June 16, 2018, the long-running Sustainability Television Program Growing a Greener World® received a Daytime Emmy Award® for its powerful episode The Green Bronx Machine.
This is the broadcast’s first Emmy win. The honor comes on the heels of Growing a Greener World receiving the coveted 2017 Pioneer Taste Award® in April.
The mission of the show has always been to help others grow a greener world themselves – through gardening, responsible environmental stewardship and building healthy communities. In 2007, Growing a Greener World explored a non-profit organization known as The Green Bronx Machine and instantly knew this was a story needing to be told.
Moved by emotion at the love and care he witnessed during filming, Executive Producer and show host Joe Lamp’l, states “After filming over 100 episodes of Growing a Greener World®, I don’t think we’ve ever told a story that’s impacted me more emotionally than this one.”
Mr. Lamp’l is referring to the compelling story of educator, entrepreneur and self-proclaimed “People Farmer,” Stephen Ritz, who came from and returned to the Bronx to heal, to show love toward and to nurture generations of school children growing up in this difficult district. His thunderbolt idea, which ultimately formed The Green Bronx Machine, was to utilize gardening in the classroom to improve the lives of inner city youth.
And improve lives it has. In a community where it’s easier to get liquor than lettuce, Mr. Ritz’s non-profit has helped high school attendance improve from 40% to 93% and has reduced behavioral incidents and out-of-classroom time by a whopping 50% in the elementary school in which he teaches.
This humble man with unparalleled charismatic, infectious energy has changed the landscape of students’ lives through tireless 12-hour days where “Garden Time with Mr. Ritz” is always in eager demand. The kids are taught the botany, the biology, and the history of the fruits and veggies they grow in a way that sparks fascination and new-found ownership of the joy of growing food that is improving eating habits and helping create healthy food relationships.
And as the children love and nurture the plants they’re raising, the plants reward them with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, and apples to be eaten during school lunch and taken home to their families. The sense of accomplishment and taste for success that is borne of this symbiotic relationship will carry into the rest of these kids’ lives.
The Green Bronx Machine is truly breaking new ground in the world of education. This investment of passion for our food source isn’t just working, it’s creating one person(al) miracle at a time.
The Growing a Greener World® series featuring this remarkable program will continue to resonate with future audiences, and future seasons will remain dedicated to telling these impactful stories of people creating change.
The Emmy Award Winning episode The Green Bronx Machine can be viewed at: https://www.growingagreenerworld.com/episode-808-green-bronx-machine/