impact story

Green Box Machine, A TOP 10 Health & Wellness Program, Ready to Scale to 22 New Cities

29.8.2019 | BY STEPHEN RITZ

Green Bronx Machine, which was featured in HundrED’s 2019 Global Collection, builds healthy, equitable and resilient communities through inspired education, local food systems, and 21st-century workforce development. Students can change how they eat, live and learn to change outcomes and trajectories for their community and all generations. Since their recognition in the HundrED Collection, the innovation has been featured by Harkin Institute as one of the top ten leading Health & Wellness programs, and are currently working to scale to 22 cities across 19 states. 

We reached out to the innovators behind Green Bronx Machine to hear how being in the HundrED 2019 collection has helped them spread their innovation.

What does it mean for GBM to be recognized as a leading education innovator in the HundrED 2019 Global Collection?

We were thrilled to be recognized in the 2019 Global Collection because it proves that Green Bronx Machine and the Bronx are ready to export our talent, diversity, and resilience - as an exemplar for the world. It demonstrated that a small grass-roots organization that focused on scalable, replicable technology, aligned to whole-school curriculum and instruction that can be used anywhere, can become a model for both small and large communities around the world.


What is your biggest takeaway from being part of the HundrED community?

Being part of the HundrED community has been a blessing. It has allowed us to connect with scrappy startups and inspiring individuals. It has connected us with like-minded people - who are committed to equity - facing similar problems. We have had opportunities to connect offline, seek support, and learn from other's experiences. Furthermore, seeing so many incredible organizations from every corner of the planet working together, near and afar, to make the world a greener, brighter place, brings us endless inspiration and hope for a better future for all. We are part of a larger, committed, global family of equity warriors. 


How has the HundrED Summit and global recognition helped progress the impact of Green Bronx Machine?

It has been awesome and because of HundrED’s huge reach, GBM has received attention from foundations, corporations, and philanthropists specifically interested in our work. Consequently, we’ve been invited to apply for the Zayed Prize, and additionally, we are currently working on a massive scaling to 22 cities across 19 states, and across hundreds of schools in the next few years with our partners in Canada. Inclusion in the HundrED list was cited by the Harkin Institute as one of the criteria that singled us out as a Top 10 Health & Wellness Program in the nation! Closer to home, we’re proud of our farm expansion, ability to grow food for cancer patients, our work with Qatar Foundation International and growing partnership with the NHL.


So, what is next for Green Bronx Machine?

Specifically, we’re very excited about our television show debut on Discovery’s Project Explorer on October 15, 2019. That will be followed by a national documentary following our expansion across the United States in partnership with Anthem Blue Cross / Blue Shield. To think that our work with the Good Food Machine and Loyalty One will reach 1,000 schools across Canada in the next three years is AWESOME-SAUCE! Simultaneously, we are working with our first graduating class from PS 721 - The Steven McSweeney School - where we built the first year-round, wheelchair accessible, commercial farm and training kitchen to create meaningful career workforce development opportunities. In Appalachia, West Virginia, we are anticipating the ribbon cutting of our first commercial farm in America maintained and staffed by foster care children along with the ribbon cutting of 21 tiny homes built to house them independently. Our work with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center continues to expand, as does our partnership with Jonathan Toews Foundation, Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Public Schools. Lastly, we could not be more excited about the launch of the new children’s book by Stephen Ritz called Make It Happen! with 100% of the proceeds going to help us hire parents from public housing at a living wage to work in public schools! As we speak, our work has grown from the Bronx to touch over 50,000 students in 20 states and five nations daily and we anticipate a 10X scaling over the next 14 months!  


What would you say to innovators who are looking to connect with HundrED? Why should they be part of the global community for change?

When you look at the HundrED list, you see people who’ve been there, have done amazing work, and continue to do amazing work. HundrED represents the go-to guide for change-makers! You can scour the globe for something that might work for your school, or you can look through the HundrED list and find like-minded people doing incredible work on the other side of the world and right in your own community.


Do you have an exciting innovation changing the way we educate our students, share your work on HundrED Open.

If you want to inspire your local community with global and local innovations, explore the HundrED Ambassadors program with members from over 70 countries.