Coral Gables Congregational Church. May 10, 2012. 7:30 p.m.
The son of a sharecropper, Will Allen had no intention of ever becoming a farmer himself. But after years in professional basketball and as an executive for Kentucky Fried Chicken and Procter & Gamble, Allen cashed in his retirement fund for a two-acre plot a half-mile away from Milwaukee’s largest public housing project. The area was a food desert with only convenience stores and fast-food restaurants to serve the needs of local residents.
In the face of financial challenges and daunting odds, Allen built the country’s preeminent urban farm-a food and educational center that now produces enough vegetables and fish year-round to feed thousands of people. Employing young people from the neighboring housing project and community, Growing Power has sought to prove that local food systems can help troubled youths, dismantle racism, create jobs, bring urban and rural communities closer together, and improve public health. Today, Allen’s organization helps develop community food systems across the country.
An eco-classic in the making, The Good Food Revolution is the story of Will’s personal journey, the lives he has touched, and a grassroots movement that is changing the way our nation eats.
Will Allen is an urban farmer who is transforming the cultivation, production, and delivery of healthy foods to underserved, urban populations. After a brief career in professional basketball and a number of years in corporate marketing at Procter & Gamble, Will Allen returned to his roots as a farmer, using his retirement package to purchase a plot of inner-city land with greenhouses, where he has built the country’s pre-eminent urban farm. He is now the CEO of Growing Power, an organization that develops community food systems. In 2008, Will was named a John D. and Katherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow, a “genius grant,” only the second farmer ever to be so honored. He is also a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, and in February 2010, he was invited to the White House to join First Lady Michelle Obama in launching “Let’s Move!” – her signature leadership program to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity in America. In May 2010, Time magazine named Will to the Time 100 World’s Most Influential People. In 2011, Allen was named one of the 7 World’s Most Influential Foodies by Michael Pollan and Forbes Magazine. He was named the 2012 NCAA Theodore Roosevelt Award recipient. He lives with his wife in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
Coral Gables Congregational Church
3010 De Soto Boulevard
Coral Gables, FL 33134