Will Allen and Growing Power

growingpowerIf you're a Midwesterner who follows urban farming (and you know you are), then you're likely to know all about Milwaukee, Wisconsin's 2008 MacArthur Fellow - and recent NRDC "Growing Green Award" winner - Will Allen. Since 1995, Allen has been finding ways to work with inner city kids and families, showing them the benefits of growing and eating great food. His approach is simple: instead of trying to find ways to get urban families to the farm, he brings the farm to the city via low-cost farming methods such as raised beds, aquaculture, vermiculture, and heating greenhouses through composting.

By teaching these communities the value of good food, and by having them participate in its creation, Allen hopes to provide people access to safe and affordable fruits and vegetables. In turn, this will reduce the rates of obesity and diabetes in these communities (and maybe put a McDonald's or 2 out of business). Here's a terrific, short video of Will Allen describing his work and its importance:

Will Allen is the CEO of Growing Power, Inc., a Milwaukee, Wisconsin non-profit that promotes this work. From their website:

Growing Power is a national nonprofit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities. Growing Power implements this mission by providing hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner.

You can visit their website to learn more about the cool stuff they do. Fantastic. Zachary Cohen has also recently posted a link to Will Allen's Good Food Manifesto at his Farm to Table blog. Check it out.