Green Bronx Machine to hold first-ever gala and Game Changing awards

Green Bronx Machine Founder Stephen Ritz with his students.
Photo courtesy Green Bronx Machine

On Oct. 9, at Inside Park at Saint Bart’s, Green Bronx Machine will host its first-ever Growing Something Greater Gala, an immersive one-of-a-kind cocktail and culinary showcase prepared by a team of Restaurant Associate Chefs at Google, honoring a community of transformative leaders in innovative “green” education.

For this inaugural event, founder Stephen Ritz and the team that grows healthy students and healthy schools, will turn the iconic landmark, Inside Park at Saint Barts, into an interactive replica of the Green Bronx Machine classroom complete with six tower gardens — a vertical farm — and the state-of-the-art Green Bronx Machine mobile classroom kitchen with video station.

“This evening represents our collective moment, from the Bronx to the world! We are so honored to celebrate the talent and diversity of our programs and heroes, especially our NYC teachers and students,” said Ritz. “To think the food served will be locally grown is further proof that NYC is leading the way. I promise everyone a night they will never forget so that children can live a life beyond all expectations! Please join us and get involved!”

Mike Gillepsie, president of the Good Eating Company, donated the iconic space at Inside Park at Saint Barts, the first church in NYC to accept the African-American and LQBTQ+ communities equitably and inclusively.

“The Good Eating Company is so proud to be associated with Green Bronx Machine and the impact they are making in so many kids’ lives. What better place than Inside Park at St. Barts to bring awareness and celebrate,” he said.

At the gala, Mayor Eric Adams, city Department of Education Schools Chancellor David Banks, state Education Commissioner Dr. Betty Rosa will deliver remarks and celebrate the first annual Game Changing Awards.

“Creating infrastructure for sustainable and equitable food production and distribution is a key pillar of our administration’s comprehensive, 10-year ‘Food Forward’ plan, and Green Bronx Machine’s school-based urban agriculture is growing something even greater: better learning outcomes,” said Adams. “This organization is doing its part to ensure that the supply chains that feed New York City are modern, efficient, and resilient, now and in the future. The work we’re celebrating here is a testament to how we can work together to reach a more equitable, sustainable, and healthy food system — one where the food you want can meet you where you are. Congratulations to the Green Bronx Machine on its inaugural gala, and I look forward to continuing to partner together to build a healthier New York City.”

The Game Changing Awards will be presented to Global Food Hero, Michiel Bakker, Google, Vice President of Global Workplace; Community Culinary Educator Award, Chef Marian LaRaia, Google, executive culinary; Hometown Health Hero, Ruben Diaz Jr., Montefiore Hospital, senior vice president; Community Advocate Award, Michael Blake, Atlas Strategy Group, CEO; Hospitality Heroes, Angela Everett and Kevin Ayala, NYC Department of Education; Garden to Graduate Service Award, Ansh Moraje, University of Texas, Austin; and Lifetime Achievement Award, Jay and Sandra Martin, Juice Plus+ founder.

“We know that good, healthy food brings a community together, and the Green Bronx Machine is an integral part of bringing together school communities across the Bronx,” said Banks. “There is no better learning than hands-on learning, and the Green Bronx Machine brings the experience of working with the earth and nature to our schools, while bringing the products of that learning to the community. I am proud to have the Green Bronx Machine as a partner and I look forward to seeing how they can grow to work with even more schools and students.”

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