By Stephen Ritz
Here at Green Bronx Machine, we could not be more excited about National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day! We have always believed that kitchens are classrooms: the ultimate place for collaboration, wonder, inquiry, measurement, voice, choice, advocacy, and discussion – where else can you collaborate on an experiment and then eat it? Creating a meal together in a kitchen is the ultimate, collaborative, project-based learning experience.
Post pandemic, as we head back to school, why not celebrate cooking in classrooms? Why not continue to build and strengthen our children’s immune systems via the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables joyfully and artistically prepared in classrooms? In an increasingly obese, sick, and dis-eased America, why not teach healthy eating, culinary arts, home-economics and move from quick, convenient, and disposable mindsets to thoughtful, nutritious, collaborative, and sustainable lifestyles? This is what happens in the kitchen. Imagine children excited to come to school to cook together and share meals with each other. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect recipe for community school success?
At Green Bronx Machine, we believe children will never be well read if they are not well fed and for over a decade – here in the least healthy county in all of New York State – we have seen data that proves that healthy eating translates into healthier school performance and happier, healthier children – win, win, WIN! We’ve seen how cooking in class puts unity in our commUNITY and brings children, teachers, families, and whole schools together! It’s time to put children back in the kitchen alongside teachers, mentors, parents, and healthy, fresh ingredients – a recipe for long term success and a way to be inclusive, diverse, and explore the cultures that create our incredible mosaic of public schools. We’ve seen these lessons and experiences translate to home experiences as well – families that eat and cook together enjoy more cohesion.
The success of our children’s cooking show – Tower to Table to Tummy – focused on cooking food grown in class complete with immersive math and fraction lessons – along with our broader educational TV program produced in partnership with PBS, Let’s Learn with Mister Ritz, is proof that there is an appetite for healthy living and healthy learning in schools across America! We’re forever grateful to the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation for their annual support of GBM, helping to bring our programming to thousands of children across NYC and America.
This year, we’re even prouder to debut our Green Bronx Machine Mobile Classroom Kitchen – a low-cost, 100% portable, plug and play classroom kitchen on wheels – imagine an in-school food truck with no exhaust for a fraction of the cost: a mobile, self-contained kitchen with stove, boiler, broiler, fridge, sink, warming tray, fire suppression, and safety equipment along with tv monitors, charging stations, and broadcast capabilities that lives on wheels and simply plugs into an outlet. It is Department of Education approved, has NSF certified surfaces, and is UL listed. Best of all, no construction or installation needed! It can travel classroom to classroom, classroom to café, café to school yard – perfect for teaching children and training adults. We’re thrilled that organizations like City Harvest and others are using them to teach healthy living and collaboration across America. Best of all, they are 100% affordable – facilitating access for all schools, day-care centers, after school programs, community centers and the like.
Innovations like these allow organizations like ours to have hyper-local and hyper-connected success, and we’re proud to be connecting students, schools, and communities around the world to celebrate healthy living, learning, and culture. And, we do it daily! It is work and impact we are proud of – it changes and enriches lives. Between our in-class learning gardens and in-class cooking, we’ve been able to change the recipe and appetite for communities everywhere and we want all of you to gather around our collective table and get involved. Today and every day, we say thank you to Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation and invite you to grow, cook and dine divine with Green Bronx Machine – get in your kitchen with children today!
Green Bronx Machine builds healthy, equitable, and resilient communities through inspired education, local food systems, and 21st Century workforce development.
Dedicated to cultivating minds and harvesting hope, our school-based model using urban agriculture aligned to key school performance indicators grows healthy students and healthy schools to transform communities that are fragmented and marginalized into neighborhoods that are inclusive and thriving.
From May 23rd to September 23rd, voting is open for the Best of the Bronx program. During this period, everyone can vote for whatever local nominees they feel should hold a Best of the Bronx title.
You are allowed one vote per person per day for each category. These categories are in sections such as Arts & Entertainment, Restaurants, Bars & Nightlife and more. Voting for the Best of the Bronx is a great way to support the places you frequent.
Once the voting ends, results are added up and double-checked for fraudulent voting or obvious abuse (those votes are then removed). After this, the results are added up again. A third party administrator runs the Best of the Bronx voting pages.
Vote for Stephen Ritz as Best of the Bronx – Teacher here: bit.ly/StephenRitzForBestTeacher