Q4HE Program Brings Indoor Gardening Curriculum to Ohio Food Desert

NORTHAMPTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / October 26, 2022 / When one grows their own food, there is often a feeling of pride and accomplishment that comes along with it. The Quest Diagnostics Foundation and Green Bronx Machine are providing a group of children the opportunity to share in that experience with a donation of the Tower Gardens® aeroponic growing system for growing and harvesting their own food.

Students at Westbrooke Village Elementary School in Trotwood, Ohio, will grow, care for, harvest, and prepare delicious, wholesome food while learning about (and addressing) food insecurity, food access, and healthy living in their own communities. Each student will take home their share of the harvest so their families and communities can enjoy the nutritious and delicious food they grew themselves.

Quest Sales Director Cecilia Martelino recently joined Green Bronx Machine Founder Stephen Ritz, Mayor Mary A. McDonald, and Superintendent Dr. Reva Cosby at the elementary school for a presentation on the program and a school tour. Ritz hosted an assembly with 100+ students where the energy radiated through the room and was best described as ‘electric.' He encouraged student interaction by running through the audience giving them high-fives. Stephen also presented two additional Tower Gardens® donated by the Quest Diagnostics Foundation to expand the program, now in its second year at this school.

Ritz, an educator born and raised in the Bronx, has taken his award-winning "Tower to Table" hands-on program to classrooms in underserved communities around the world, helping students engage in STEM-based learning while taking control of their health and wellness.


Cecilia said, "What an exhilarating opportunity! The students were engaged and very curious about the opportunities the food towers could bring them and their community. Trotwood doesn't have a grocery store currently, so the thought of fresh vegetables being grown by the kids in the community was exciting. It also gave them a sense of pride that they could be contributors to the community too!"

The Quest Diagnostics Foundation provided a grant to Green Bronx Machine to support the expansion of its school program "Cultivating Health Equity" as part of the Quest for Health Equity (Q4HE) initiative. Q4HE is a multi-year initiative of Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX) and the Quest Diagnostics Foundation focused on providing a combination of donated testing services, education programs, partnerships, and funding to support initiatives to close the gap in healthcare disparities in underserved communities.

"On behalf of Westbrooke Village Students, Staff, Trotwood-Madison City Schools, and the Community, I would like to express our fullest gratitude to Green Bronx Machine and Quest Diagnostics for your visit," said Tabitha Harden, Westbrooke Village Principal. "I believe the students will continue to be motivated and excited about learning. I'm so excited for all of our students to learn and experience the STEM program this school year. That excitement continues as we now have two new Tower Gardens to utilize at Westbrooke!"

With support from the Quest Foundation, Green Bronx Machine is reaching underserved students in 30 schools in Colorado, Ohio, and New York.

"I cannot thank Mr. Ritz enough for bringing his energy and beliefs about the importance of food for our families. I also want to thank everyone for their part in making this happen. We will put the two new tower gardens to great use. When lots of pieces come together you get a great picture and that is what happened here," said Dr. Cosby.

Learn more about Q4HE's work with Green Bronx Machine, here.

Quest Diagnostics , Wednesday, October 26, 2022, Press release picture
Quest Diagnostics , Wednesday, October 26, 2022, Press release picture

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SOURCE: Quest Diagnostics

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