Will Allen, urban farming pioneer and national food policy leader, will open this year’s Wallace Stegner Lectures on February 11 with a talk at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. The evening kicks off the 20th anniversary of the series presented annually by Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST). Lecture speakers explore issues related to land, nature and the environment in honor of the late author and conservationist Wallace Stegner. Lectures begin at 8:00 p.m., after a book-signing and reception.
Will Allen started his career in the 1970s as a basketball player in the United States and Belgium. Retiring from sports at age 28, he joined Proctor & Gamble in marketing and sales. The son of a sharecropper, he eventually left corporate life to return to his roots in farming. He purchased a plot of inner-city land on the north side of Milwaukee, Wisc., which evolved into his current nonprofit, Growing Power.
As the group’s founder and CEO, Allen oversees an innovative urban farming program that trains community members to grow food using resources at hand. The program is now a model for worldwide efforts to provide nutritious food to all people, regardless of economic circumstances. In 2008, his creativity and influence in the urban agriculture and sustainable food movements earned Allen a “genius grant” from the John D. and Katherine T. McArthur Foundation. He helped launch First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” program and, in 2010, was named by Time Magazine as one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People.” In 2012, the National Education Association honored him for outstanding service to children, teachers and schools.
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