Will Allen

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In 1995, former Proctor & Gamble marketing executive Will Allen was helping neighborhood kids with a gardening project when he decided that introducing farming to America’s inner cities could reap real public health benefits. The farming methods and educational programs he subsequently developed are now the hallmark of Growing Power, the nonprofit organization Allen co-founded and directs. Growing Power’s operating assumption is that the lack of access low-income urban populations have to unprocessed foods not only fosters epidemic health problems such as obesity and diabetes, but in the process exacts tremendous socio-economic costs. Starting with two acres of land, Allen’s organization is now producing vast amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables within Milwaukee’s city limits, and selling them year-round at reduced cost to participating residents via the Farm-to-City Market Basket Program. Allen has exported Growing Power’s methods to Chicago. Internships and workshops he hosts engage minority and immigrant youth while also providing hands-on training in low-cost farming technologies. “If people can grow safe, healthy, affordable food, if they have access to land and clean water, this is transformative on every level in a community. I believe we cannot have healthy communities without a healthy food system,” Allen argues. He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2008.
  • Speaker PopTech 2009
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Archived blog posts

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This week in PopTech:  Healthy food, new music and old men

This week in PopTech: Healthy food, new music and old men

There’s always something brewing in the PopTech community. From the world-changing people, projects and ideas in our network, a handful of this week’s highlights follows.

Founder and CEO of Growing Power, Will Allen (PopTech 2009), has received the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award for his work as a farmer and community Read more »

This Week in PopTech: Sustainable Development, Aquaponics and Speaking Human

There’s always something brewing in the PopTech community. From the world-changing people, projects and ideas in our network, a handful of this week’s highlights follows.Read more »

Quarantine Cooking: An Edible Banquet in Manhattan

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The Landscapes of Quarantine exhibition at Manhattan’s Storefront for Art and Architecture, curated from the fall workshop series of the same name by FuturePlural’s Nicola Twilley and Geoff Manaugh, held two dinner events this past weekend on the theme of quarantine.

Six courses from food collective A Razor, A Shiny Knife, led by

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VIDEO: Michael Pollan, Will Allen, and Marije Vogelzang on Edible Futures

We are delighted to post the delicious videos from the PopTech 2009: Edible Futures session today (you can see all the 2009 Social Innovation Fellow videos in last week’s post). We hope you will embed these videos and share them with your friends.

Michael Pollan spoke the gospel of sustainable food at PopTech and you can

Look for another

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Michael Pollan, Will Allen, and Marije Vogelzang Tour Garden at Local Restaurant Primo

After their “Edible Futures” panel at PopTech 2009: America Reimagined, speakers author and leading food thinker Michael Pollan, Will Allen of Growing Power, and eating designer Marije Vogelzang toured the gardens and kitchens of local restaurant

They were extracting the last of the honey:

Michael asked about the feed and the chickens

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Will Allen and the urban farming revolution

Will Allen is redefining farming. His farm is a set of greenhouses in a corner of Northwest Milwaukee, walking distance from the city’s largest housing project. His farm doesn’t just feed 10,000 local residents – it’s a source of jobs, of training in polyculture and transformation of waste into food, and a model for the future of urban farming.

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