When I learned about Will Allen in the movie “Fresh“, it was one of those moments where you ask yourself, am I finding this kind of stuff because I am more aware, or is it all new? In this case, as in many others, these efforts and ideas are relatively new. Yet they are part of a new frontier of sorts. What attracts me are the ideas around, not only changing the old rules, but changing the game entirely.
WHO • WILL ALLEN, 61
MISSION • To promote urban gardening, particularly in low-income neighborhoods where people might not otherwise have access to fresh and healthy food. “I want to be part of the revolution that changes how we grow, distribute and eat food so that the process is healthier for people and the planet,” Allen says. He started Growing Power—a greenhouse complex that cultivates organic food and teaches people how to produce their own—in Milwaukee in 1993. He also operates farms in Chicago and rural Merton, Wisconsin, and has teamed with Michelle Obama’s program to fight childhood obesity.
Essentially what Will Allen has done is create a way to produce a large amount of food in a very small space, (2 acres), employ people who need work in a very fulfilling and rewarding way, and extend himself to teach as many people as possible how to do the same.
For me, Will Allen is one of my heroes. And I am teaching my kids that these kind of people should be treated with the respect and admiration that is normally reserved for rock stars.