Archive for February 25th, 2013

February 25, 2013

March Inspire Speaker Series: Food for Big Thoughts

by Melissa Harding



“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake.”
– First Lady Michelle Obama at the Let’s Move! launch, February, 2010

“Students shouldn’t have to leave their community to live, learn and earn in a better one.” Stephen Ritz

We have long anticipated this edition of our Inspire Speakers Series. It’s all about FOOD! That is, it’s about healthy food and healthy living in our homes, schools, businesses, and communities. Everyone – including parents, elected officials at all levels of government, schools, health care professionals, nonprofit and community-based organizations, and businesses – has a role to play in creating healthy and sustainable places by supporting access to affordable and nutritious food.

Access to healthy, affordable food in our schools: 95% of children attend school every day. Many children consume at least half of their daily calories at school. Food served at school may be the only food that many children eat regularly. More than 31 million children participate in the National School Lunch Program, and more than 12 million children participate in the School Breakfast Program. Serving healthy, nutritious food is more important than ever!

Access to healthy, affordable food in our communities: More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods that are considered “food deserts” – communities that are more than a mile away from a supermarket with limited access to affordable, nutritious food. A recent 2008 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that an estimated 49.1 million people, including 16.7 million children, lived in households that experienced food insecurity multiple times throughout the year.

National guest Stephen Ritz and his students have had a huge impact on their local community of the South Bronx, including:

  • Growing enough healthy, local produce to feed 450 South Bronx students
  • Funding and creating over 2,200 youth jobs with a living wage
  • Increasing school attendance for his students from 40% to 93%
  • Rooting the school’s green initiatives in literacy and common core standards in order to help all students graduate high school and be fully prepared to enter college and pursue post-secondary training

Stephen and his students will share their adventures and explain how we can make changes in the places where we live, work, learn and play. Check out his TED Talk to see what’s in store. And check out some photos of the Green Bronx Machine in action here. Learn more about Let’s Move! Pittsburgh, a collaborative of organizations, parents, and caregivers in southwestern Pennsylvania committed to leading children in our region toward a healthier future. Inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to curb childhood obesity through raised awareness about the benefits of healthy foods, decreased screen time and increased physical activity for children, the collaboration led by Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens aims to put solutions to this national problem locally.

Learn more about the speakers at

WHEN: Thursday, March 14th from 5:30 – 8 p.m.

WHERE: Special Events Hall, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Registration Information:

  • GBA Member Fee: $25.00
  • Member of Partner Organization Fee (Phipps Conservatory or Tri-State Area School Study Council): $25.00
  • Non-member Fee: $45.00
  • Student Fee: $25.00


For group rates and scholarship information, please contact Jenna Cramer.


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