From basketball player to MacArthur Genius, how Will Allen started the Good Food Revolution

May 31, 2012

Preeti Upadhyaya

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Will Allen was born to sharecroppers, but never intended to become a farmer himself. Instead he climbed the ranks of basketball until he played professionally. Then he took on the corporate world as an executive for Kentucky Fried Chicken and Proctor and Gamble.

But Allen eventually left his post at P&G to buy a plot of land near Milwaukee’s largest public housing project, and transformed that property into Growing Power, the country’s leading urban farm.  Growing Power brings together people from the neighboring housing project to show how local, sustainable food production can repair broken communities while providing fresh produce and fish to thousands of people year round. He has since opened a Chicago outpost of the farm as well.

Allen is the recipient of a Ford Foundation leadership grant and more recently, a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant for his work. Will Allen joins Thursday’s Afternoon Shift to discuss his book The Good Food Revolution and how Growing Power is taking the message of sustainable food and local farming around the country.