I have always been inspired by doers. Men and women who roll up their sleeves, take risks and take action are much more exciting to me than mere great thinkers. To me, the real visionaries of history are those who see a need, have a goal, and then fight like heck to do something about it.
As promised, I’m writing a series of very short articles about people and organizations that really inspire me as relates to food security. These are sleeve rolling, action taking, get r done kind of people whose efforts are kick butt effective and who motivate me to get up off my couch and make a difference in my community.
The first person I want to highlight is Will Allen and his organization, Growing Power.
I’ll admit, I hadn’t heard of Will Allen until about a year ago when I first saw, “Fresh, the Movie”. I became an instant fan. This guy is a real hero. He’s a doer.
After a career in Basketball and a stint in corporate America, Will Allen went back to his roots, farming. The cool thing about his farm is it’s stuck right smack in the middle of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is the poster child for Urban Farming. Three glorious acres surround by sprawl.
Growing Power uses some pretty innovative methods combining greenhouses, Aquaponics and vermicomposting to grow mountains of food. They are absolute masters of space and resource management. They are a genuine oasis in the heart of a food desert.
What makes me love Will Allen and Growing Power so much, is that they have seen a need for good food and have taken action to make it available and to train others to do the same. These people are not mere protesters of the travesty of malnutrition, childhood obesity or food insecurity, they are working to alleviate it. They are setting a standard and an example of excellence, demonstrating that there are solutions to our growing food security issues.
In the spirit of full disclosure, Mr. Allen and his organization have much more interest in Government involvement than I do. The more I learn about Growing Power, the more I believe our political views are quite disparate, but Will Allen isn’t waiting on Government, he is doing something now. And what he is doing is heroic.
Growing Power is now working well beyond Milwaukee, with centers and partnerships in Madison, Wisconsin, Chicago, IL and other cities around the country. They are feeding communities, but are also training a new generation in how to build a secure, sustainable food system. This is community organizing I can get behind.
I’ve included links to their website a couple of times in this post, but you should also do a search for Growing Power or Will Allen on YouTube for more information. I’ve got to tell you, though, if you read and watch this stuff, you might just become compelled to do something about your community. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.