The Bronx Gardener: Changing Landscapes and Mindsets

Big Bear Lake, CA, February 9, 2014 – The Big Bear Lighthouse Project’s Vision Summit is something hundreds of people look forward to every year. In fact, it sold out in 2013, headlined as it was by the bestselling author and farming philosopher Joel Salatin, whose mission is to “develop economically, environmentally and emotionally enhancing agricultural enterprises and facilitate their duplication throughout the world.” For this year’s Summit, the Lighthouse Project has chosen a keynote speaker who’ll build on Salatin’s message that healing the food system can also heal communities. Stephen Ritz–aka “The Bronx Gardener”–is a green innovator, social entrepreneur and a featured educator in a book released last fall called American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom. His work has been featured on TNT, Today, ABC, CNN and Forbes, and he has a green education and innovation blog on the Huffington Post. Ritz says the biggest bullies in school are junk food items like mac-and-cheese, popcorn and potato chips, soda and sugary drinks masquerading as juices. But he didn’t just complain about them, he taught his students how to grow vegetables in classrooms, then he taught others to do so. His classroom’s “edible wall” routinely generates enough produce to feed healthy meals to 450 students. and his extended student and community network have now grown more than 30,000 pounds of vegetables in the Bronx. The process has engaged Ritz’s students...

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