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The Power of a Plant

“I grow vegetables, but vegetables grow students, schools, and community” – Stephen Ritz, Green Bronx Machine

We are so proud of our friend Stephen Ritz, founder of Green Bronx Machine, for his launch of his book “The Power Of A Plant“!  We are happy to share the letter we received from Stephen about the book launch and that all proceeds will benefit the programs of Green Bronx Machine! 



Dear Friends!

THRILLED to report that my book: The Power Of A Plant is finally here, on sale everywhere today – now it is time to celebrate!
As many of you know, I have been teaching in the South Bronx since the early 1980s. I started my career right out of college when I was barely older than my students.  At twenty-one years old, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and stumbled into teaching by default only to discover that I had a passion and knack for engaging the hardest to reach, most disconnected students. But, it took a classroom accident, two decades into my teaching career, for me to discover the power of a plant to delight, nurture, and inspire curiosity in everyone. Along the way, with passion, purpose, and hope, I’ve learned some critical lessons and a few handy metaphors about greening the classroom and growing something greater. 
I’ve written about those lessons and about my wild, wonderful, sometimes tragic, but ultimately magic ride in this amazing book: The Power of a Plant, published by Rodale, an international leader in the health, wellness, parenting and gardening space – how apropos!
My goal with the book was to answer some questions:  How does the simple act of teaching children to plant seeds lead to better health, stronger academic performance, and more hopeful / resilient communities? How have we managed to grow so much goodness and opportunity in a community challenged by environmental degradation, negative stereotypes, chronic disease, and generational poverty? And just how fast can we bring this remarkable program to other communities that are desperately seeking solutions? The book is part memoir, part blueprint, 100% inspiration, perspiration and motivation – complete with letters from students and colleagues, a growing guide, a teaching and school administration guide, a tool kit, incredible pictures, even the Green Bronx Machine Manifesto – guaranteed to move you to MAKE EPIC HAPPEN in your life, your community and beyond; filled with my famous SI SE PUEDE SPIRIT.

I always tell my students you need to give love to get love and always keep paying it forward. My students and I have received a lot of love from so many of you and now I’m asking for your support! Here’s what you can do:

  1. Order the book! Best of all, proceeds support Green Bronx Machine, so help spread the green.
  2. Share the news, attached see a photo of the book jacket – send it to a friend, family member, fellow teacher or anyone interested in the lives of children – and add it to a Facebook Post.
  3. Invite me to speak at your schools, summits or conferences.
  4. Review The Power of The Plant in your newspaper, magazine, blog, Amazon or Good Reads.
  5. If you’re in media, interview me for your newspaper, show or website – I’m not at a loss for words!


Learn more about Green Bronx Machine –



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