Wednesday, April 11, 2012

From the NBA to Urban Farmer: Will Allen

Urban farmer is on the radar. Many city dwellers are discovering the many advantages in converting urban blight into urban green acres.

The advantages include urban renewal, a healthier food supply system, urban economic and job opportunities and there are numerous ecological benefits as well.

Not to mention, bringing this food growing technology to countries lacking an adequate food supply.

Aquaponics 101

One new cutting edge method of urban farming is Aquaponics: Growing plants and fish in a closed, recirculating system.

Former NBA player, Will Allen has served as an early ambassador for this transformative method of farming. An urban farmer since 1993, Allen via Growing Power, Inc in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has lead The Good Food Revolution.

The Will Allen Story

Will Allen was a high school state champion at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, MD in basketball, playing the forward position. Allen played collegiately for the Miami Hurricanes at the University of Miami, where he was on basketball scholarship. He was the first African-American to play basketball for the University of Miami.
After college Allen was selected by the Baltimore Bullets in the 4th round (60th pick overall) of the 1971 NBA Draft. He never played in the NBA, but appeared in seven games with The Floridians of the ABA during the 1971–72 season. He also played professionally in Belgium.
Allen retired from basketball in 1977, when he was 28. Upon retirement, Allen moved toMilwaukee, his wife Cynthia's hometown.

Will Allen’s parents were sharecroppers in South Carolina until they bought the small vegetable farm in Rockville, Maryland, where Allen grew up.

Finishing a career in marketing, Allen left a job at Procter & Gamble in 1993 and purchasedGrowing Power, a derelict plant nursery that was in foreclosure, located on the north side ofMilwaukee. Around this time, Allen also purchased a 100-acre farm in Oak Creek, previously owned by his wife's parents.
Allen currently serves as director of Growing Power, a now mature urban farming project inMilwaukee, with a 40-acre acre farm west of Milwaukee in the town of Merton and an off-shoot project in Chicago run by Allen's daughter, Erika.
In 2005, Allen was awarded a Ford Foundation leadership grant on behalf of his urban farming work In 2008, he was awarded the MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" for his work onurban farming and sustainable food production. In 2009, the Kellogg Foundation gave Allen a grant to create jobs in urban agriculture.[7][12]
Will Allen appears in the documentary filmFresh. The film refers to Allen as "one of the most influential leaders of the food security and urban farming movement. source

To learn more visit Growing Power.

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