Big Ideas Fest Speakers
Since 2005, South Bronx teacher/administrator Stephen Ritz has grown attendance rates at his school from 40 to 93 percent. How? By teaching students how to grow food. Stephen’s extended student body and community have grown over 25 thousand pounds of vegetables in the Bronx, providing healthy food where it is desperately needed – and teaching valuable career skills along the way. To date, 2,200 youth jobs emerged through Stephen’s organization, Green Bronx Machine. Father to many, hero to all (and dubbed “the Pied Piper of Peas”), Stephen has captured an EPA Award for transforming mindsets and landscapes in New York City, while helping 5,000-plus students in the Green Bronx Machine earn a living wage, en route to graduation.