Growing Power

Urban farmer and author Will Allen recently spoke to more than 650 Berry College students, faculty, staff and community members about how to build a more sustainable agriculture by going back to the basics.

“The key to this type of production is to use every bit of space you have,” Allen said. “It has to be a very integrated agricultural system.”

Allen’s book, “The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People and Communities,” was the summer reading assignment for all new students and Allen was the featured Conson Wilson Lecture Series speaker.

“We always try to look for a book that will be accessible and interesting to all students, regardless of their major or background,” said Director of First-Year Experience Katherine Powell. “We thought Will Allen’s personal story would resonate with Berry students and that his philosophy of addressing problems with resources on hand was both inspiring and very similar to Martha Berry’s own philosophy.”

Allen is an international ambassador for urban agriculture and universal food security, as well as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2008, he was awarded the John D. and Katherine T. McArthur Foundation “Genius” grant and was the second farmer to be named a McArthur Fellow. Time magazine named him as one of 100 World’s Most Influential People in 2010. He was also one of four national spokesmen who stood on the dais with First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House to launch her “Let’s Move!” initiative to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity by 2015.

Allen founded Growing Power, Inc. to help local teens have access to jobs and fresh produce. Growing Power is a non-profit center for urban agriculture training and building community food systems.

“Mr. Allen has worked with people of all walks of life and mentored them through gardening and farming into productive lives,” said Berry Associate Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies Brian Campbell. “Everyone can grow healthy food and become a better person for it.”

Written by Student Public Relations Assistant Victoria Mashburn. Photos by Student Photographer Lindsey Campbell and Staff Photographer Brant Sanderlin