Growing Power CEO Will Allen Lecture on Aug. 31

Release Date: August 25, 2017

Will Allen, author of “The Good Food Revolution” and CEO of Growing Power, will give a lecture at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31 in the Cage Center Arena at Berry College. 

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. As CEO, Allen has traveled extensively in the United States and abroad, helping to launch and support urban farming on a national level. He was the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant” in 2008 and was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential people in 2010.

The son of sharecroppers, Allen left farming behind when he went to college on a basketball scholarship.  After a brief stint as a professional basketball player, Allen settled into a business career with Proctor and Gamble, but the lure of growing his own food and making healthy food available to others kept pulling him back to the land.  In 1993, Allen cashed in his retirement savings to open an urban farm on two acres in inner city Milwaukee, not only bringing healthy food to a former “food desert, but also providing employment and training for local youth and adults. 

“The Good Food Revolution” explores the impact of food insecurity on individuals and communities and the importance of the accessible, healthy food for all.  In tracing his own history, Allen discusses the Great Migration and the systemic obstacles faced by African-American farmers.  His book is a call to action that seeks to communities to take control of their own food supply.   

Allen’s appearance is part of the annual Conson Wilson Memorial lecture which features the author of a book read by all first-year students.  During orientation in August, students join their first-year seminar classmates, instructor and mentor to discuss the book over dinner, usually in the instructor’s home.  The program is intended to give students a common intellectual experience at the start of their college careers, and to engage them in the kind of lively give and take that characterizes college discussion.   

In addition to his lecture, Allen will tour the garden at the Davies Homeless Shelter and visit with students from Berry College and the Greenwood Learning Center, as well as pay a visit to the Berry Elementary and Middle School Orchard.  Associate Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies Brian Campbell, is coordinating these additional activities.  

The lecture is free and open to the public.