"It's all about worms... and cow manure... and good earth...and community."
A Conversation with Growing Power’s Will Allen,
a leader in the development of commercial urban agriculture
Piedmont Virginia Community College
May 30, 2007
Founder and president of the Rainbow Farmers Cooperative, Allen is a farmer and community activist dedicated to supporting low-income and small family farmers and bringing healthy, affordable food to urban areas. "Why Urban Agriculture?" he asks.
“We must strengthen and grow both rural AND urban farming to support a sustainable, secure food system for everyone
"Urban agriculture contributes nutritious, flavorful food to communities through year-round local food production. The ability to produce and distribute food throughout local neighborhoods is important as the demand for nutritional, good-tasting food continues to grow throughout the country. It is crucial that this healthy food be available to individuals and families in ALL neighborhoods!
"While healthy food production is perhaps the most important aspect of urban agriculture, other benefits abound as well. Sustainable farming methods and food production contribute to the beauty of urban landscapes while at the same time playing a crucial role in strengthening healthy environmental management practices within our cities. Additionally, urban farmers and residents benefit as both the economic and social impacts strengthen neighbors and neighborhoods."
Allen works a 100-acre farm in Wisconsin and is responsible for organizing most of the farmers markets in Milwaukee. Will told us about the difference urban farms are making in cities across the country.
Will Allen was also present for groundbreaking at our area’s first urban farm, located at Friendship Court in Charlottesville (corner of Monticello and 6th Streets), a project of the Quality Community Council.
Will's accomplishments at Growing Power are absolutely stunning. We encourage you to visit the Milwaukee farms he runs.
The Ballyshannon Fund Forum is a quarterly series of lectures at the
Piedmont Virginia Community College in central Virginia.
All are open to the public, with no charge for attendance.