Urban Farmer Wins MacArthur Genius Grant

Will Allen, former pro basketball player, founded Growing Power to help low-income people in Milwaukee  and Chicago grow their own food locally.

farmers market

He will now have an extra $500,000 to help his efforts.


The MacArthur Foundation announced yesterday that they will honor his work with one of their  25 annual ‘genius’ grants–a five-year grant that the recipient can use as he or she chooses.  Mr. Allen joins a group of artists, physicians and scientists recognized for their unique contributions to improve society.  This may be the first time that an urban farmer has been given such a coveted award.

Mr. Allen founded Growing Power in 1993 to help local kids learn more about growing food.  His program expanded to Chicago, where his daughter, Erika Allen, helps run urban farms that sell food to local farmers markets and high-profile restaurants.  Growing Power also runs training locations in other states, including Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts and Mississippi.

Will Allen is not only a localvore, he’s also a genius.

Photo from my own collection.

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