Sunday, June 7, 2009

Will Allen of Growing Power

Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power, Inc., won a much-deserved MacArthur Foundation fellowship in 2008. Once a professional basketball player, Allen also worked in corporate marketing at Procter and Gamble before turning his energy to the development of Growing Power, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, since 1995.

Allen is a major source of inspiration and information for the urban gardening movement, inspiring people of all ages. He teaches workshops to aspiring urban farmers across the United States and abroad. His passion is for transforming the cultivation, production, and delivery of healthy foods to underserved urban populations.

Allen recognized that many low-income urban populations have very limited access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables, resulting in health-related problems such as obesity and diabetes. He transplanted the best “back to the land” efforts of the sustainable agriculture movement to an urban garden of under three acres, using raised beds, aquaculture, vermiculture, and compost-heated greenhouses to raise food. He then went to focus on redesigning urban food distribution networks.

Naturally, he's had a huge impact on human culture in the process. Growing Power works because it engages many people through internships, workshops, and intensive, hands-in-the-compost-bin training. The goal is to improve the diet and health of the urban poor, and in the meantime, a whole lot of learning, community building, and creative interaction takes place.

This guy is my hero. A lot of people feel that way – click here for a couple of posts about Growing Power written by Daughter Number Three, from Minneapolis. And here's a piece about Allen from the White House Organic Farm Project. There are a number of Growing Power facebook pages, too, and now they are populating my facebook page!


twolefthands said...

What am inspiration! Thanks for sharing!

UrbanEden said...

Thanks for sharing this! Here in New London we have FRESH,where students grow vegetables and sell them at low cost in low-income areas. A great program, teaching gardening, nutrition, business skills, and community service. Another component is a large community garden.

elena said...

There are also some wonderful garden programs on the order of FRESH in New London at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, both on the land there and in the city. And we have community gardens here in Bloomington through Mother Hubbard's Cupboard Food Pantry. It's an idea with legs, and it is running! Maybe Will Allen's football background helps somehow with that!