Rochester N.Y. – Steve Ritz, a product of the Green Living Technologies International (GLTi) train the trainer program, has been awarded a TEDx Manhattan Award for “Changing the Way We Eat”. According to Ritz, “It was George Irwin and Green Living Technologies who helped me get started with this patented technology, the partnership we have been able to establish with George Irwin and Green Living Technologies has been transformational”. GLTi has been responsible for countless stories of teacher and student achievement throughout 13 countries with the patented vertical farming technologies and the GLTi Train the Trainer / GLTi Educational Program. In 2009 GLTi was featured on “Good Morning America” where Ritz and his class were asked to join as props for the featured GLTi / Campbell’s “Tomato Soup” green living wall growing vertical tomatoes in Harlem. Irwin, also a former teacher, was motivated by Steve’s enthusiasm and brought the very first indoor vertical farm to Steves classroom in the Bronx. The next month GLTi donated $25,000 to have Ritz’s class attend a formal GLTi Professional Training on top of the John Hancock building in Boston. The Three day training, designed for construction professionals, included an authentic component that provided the support structure that lead to over 150 Bronx and NYC student scholarships to attend additional GLTi trainings. The successful students go on to real work experience on real projects, earning real money.
For the next four years GLTi fine-tuned the program designed around existing state and national learning standards while bridging the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) philosophy between state testing, green living roofs, green living walls, vertical farming and food. The four year beta classroom with Ritz had produced 100% graduation and 100% passing the NYS regents for four years in a row. Irwin states, “With the effort of Ritz and the support of school administrators the program was wildly successful. There are many programs available however without a motivated teacher to deliver the content it’s just another program. The design of the programing allows for the integration into an existing curriculum, we won’t replace current content the intent is to enhance it”.
We are very proud of Steve’s success and he is one of the best examples and success stories of the GLTi programs. Steve is only one of hundreds experiencing the same success. Additional credits need to extend to the GLTi network of Pro Staff contractors who seek out GLTi graduates. Trevor Smith, Land Escapes for his work with the Boston Youth Build implementing green roofs on top of Boston bus stops, Philly Green Wall orchestrating the green roof installations in Philadelphia, we can’t name them all yet they are the next level of support helping to create paid internships and job opportunities in the green technologies field in addition to GLTi manufacturing. The GLTi school garden program is part of a larger network that spans beyond Ritz. The same programing is also implemented as government health and wellness efforts, K-12, university level classes, and transitioning adult programing. GLTi’s success has been featured as an NBC documentary (http://agreenroof.com/vertical-urban-farms/), the Today Show, Good Morning America and CNN with personal appearances via Scholastic and The Academy of Medicine.
Congratulations to an extraordinary effort and a well-deserved accolade to Mr. Ritz, the real winners are the thousands of students and learners who benefit from this incredible program.