12 Nov Irregardless attends International Urban Agriculture Conference
Arthur and Anya attended the third International Urban Agriculture & Small Farm Conference held this past weekend in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sponsored by Will Allen’s ‘Growing Power’, whose “good food revolution” mission is to help provide equal access to healthy high-quality, safe and affordable food to people in all communities.
The conference was diverse in every sense. It included farmers, aspiring farmers, renewable energy experts, urban planners, corporate executives, politicians, academics, chefs, microbiologists, and people from countless other walks of life. It included folks from nearly every state in the union—and from several countries across the globe. The crowd was black and white, young and old, rich and poor.
Highlights of the conference was a high powered discussion between Will Allen and Michael Pollan, author of ‘Omnivores’ Dilemma’, about the current state of agriculture. Pollan spoke on the need for a US Food Policy – which he and other ‘food thought leaders’ put in an Op Ed that was published in this past Saturday, Nov 8th Washington Post.
Another highlight was a tour of ‘Growing Powers’ gardens, greenhouses, and acqua- culture facilities – the extent of their urban agriculture model and the empowerment of disadvantaged youth – is truly impressive and inspiring to us in North Carolina.
Will Allen, who is the son of share croppers in South Carolina, was a College basketball player and marketing executive with Procter & Gamble. In 1993 he purchased a derelict nursery and 40 acre farm in Milwaukee and began developing Growing Power, which has evolved into a mature urban farming project in Milwaukee. Allen has been recognized for his leadership in urban agriculture with a Ford Foundation leadership grant, the MacArthur Foundation ”Genius Grant”, an honorary doctorate from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and was named one of the 100 most influential people in America by TIME Magazine in 2010.