Will Allen of Growing Power to speak at UT-Austin, Yale

Will Allen of Growing Power, winner of the 2008 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant,” is off to a great start this year. Here’s a press release from Growing Power:

Milwaukee – Feb. 9, 2009 – This will be a busy weekend for Will Allen, founder and CEO of Milwaukee’s Growing Power Inc. On Friday, Feb. 13, at the invitation of President Bill Clinton, Allen will share the dais at the University of Texas at Austin with, among others, actress Drew Barrymore, for a panel discussion titled “The Future of Food.” In the audience will be 1,000 college students and 200 university presidents and chancellors from institutions across the nation.

After that session, Allen will jet home just in time to turn around and visit Yale University in New Haven, Conn., for a special address Monday to the faculty, students and guests of the Yale Sustainable Food Project.

The Austin conference is billed as a special plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative, which is sponsored by the Clinton Foundation. Allen and others will address issues of food security and food justice in a world threatened by economic and political upheaval, global warming, overpopulation and outmoded food policies.

The moderator for the discussion is Raj Shah, the director of agricultural development for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Other panelists include Barrymore, who has been named an Ambassador Against Hunger to the U.N. World Food Programme; Emma Clipinger, a student at Brown University; Peter McPherson, president of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges; and film director Morgan Spurlock.

The Yale Sustainable Food Project directs programs that “support exploration and academic inquiry related to food and agriculture,” and also manages a sustainable dining program and an organic farm on the Yale campus.

“It’s pretty clear that food, pure and simple, is not being taken for granted anymore,” Allen said. “Conferences like these, sponsored by some of the most important institutions in the world, suggest it has finally sunk in: We need to address hunger as a global threat.”

Growing Power Inc. is a national non-profit and land trust that operates community food centers in Milwaukee and Chicago and provides training in urban agriculture around the world. Allen is the winner of a 2008 McArthur Foundation “Genius Grant.”


Jim Price, Growing Power Inc.
(414) 531–3395

Will Allen’s are spreading fast, be it at a Milwaukee school with an aquaculture system in its greenhouse, to the new fish farm going in at a former industrial site on the south side. We will all benefit from his work in the end.


Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.

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