Will Allen

  • Aired:  06/12/12
  •  | Views: 11,967

MacArthur Genius Fellow Will Allen discusses urban farming and his book, "The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities." (5:41)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A McARTHUR GENIUS FELLOW WITH A

NEW BOOK CALLED "GOOD FOOD REVOLUTION." GREAT, I'D SAY IT'S ABOUT TIME

WE TOOK UP ARMS AGAINST GOOD FOOD.

PLEASE WELCOME WILL ALLEN.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)R MR. ALLEN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING ON.

GOOD TO SEE YOU.

>> GOOD TO SEE YOU.

>> Stephen: ALL RIGHT, YOU ARE AN URBAN FARMER NOW.

YOU HAVE BEEN A PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER, AN EXECUTIVE AT K.F.C. AND PROCTER & GAMBLE,

NOW YOU ARE FARMING IN CITIES.

WHAT LED YOU... YOU ACTUALLY ARE THE SON OF A SHARECROPPER,

CORRECT?

>> RIGHT.

>> Stephen: WHAT LED YOU BACK TO A FARM AFTER ALL OF THESE HIGH POSITIONS?

>> WELL, WHEN I LEFT THE FARM AT 18 I SAID "NEVER WILL I DO THIS HARD WORK AGAIN."

YOU KNOW, ALL MY FRIENDS WEREN'T FARMING AND I WAS KIND OF STUCK ON THE FARM ME AND MY BROTHER

JOE AND TOMMY WE WORKED ON THE FARM DURING THE SUMMER BEFORE I COULD GO PLAY BALL, I WOUND UP

BEING A HIGH SCHOOL ALL AMERICAN BASKETBALL PLAYER IN THE D.C.

AREA.� BASKETBALL AND I THOUGHT I WAS MISSING SOMETHING SO WHEN I WENT TO COLLEGE I WAS THE FIRST

AFRICAN AMERICAN ATHLETE TO GO TO UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI TO PLAY BASKETBALL AND THEN MY VISION

AND DREAM WAS TO PLAY BASKETBALL GET A COLLEGE EDUCATION AND MY LAST PROFESSIONAL JOB WAS IN BELGIUM.

I WENT TOE A FARM IN BELGIUM WITH ONE OF MY TEAMMATES WHOSE FAMILY WAS IN FARMING AND AS

SOON AS I TOUCHED THE SOIL I KNEW IT WAS SOMETHING I MISSED.

I HAD SOME HIDDEN PASSION FOR GROWING FOOD.

>> Stephen: WHY ARE YOU BRINGING FARMING BACK TO SEIZE?

CITIES ARE BARELY A PLACE FOR HUMANS LET ALONE... DO YOU HAVE FARM ANIMALS ON THESE FARMS?

>> WE DO HAVE ANIMALS ON OUR FARMS AND MILWAUKEE, BUT THE REASON... THE PRACTICAL REASONS

IS WE HAVE MANY FOOD DID CERTS INSIDE OF MAJOR CITIES, LESS THAN 1% OF FOOD IS LOCALLY GROWN

AND WE HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM EATING BAD FOOD.

>> Stephen: YOU'RE DOING THIS IN MILWAUKEE WHERE YOU ARE THE C.E.O. OF SOMETHING CALLED

GROWING POW CHER DEVELOPS COMMUNITY FOOD SYSTEMS AND YOUR NEW BOOK IS CALLED "THE GOOD

FOOD REVOLUTION." WHAT DO R YOU DOING WITH GROWING POWER?

HOW BIG IS YOUR FARM IN MILWAUKEE?

>> WELL, WE STARTED OUT WITH ONE FARM THAT I PURCHASED BACK IN

1993 AND THAT'S OUR NATIONAL...

INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS WHERE WE TRAIN OVER A THOUSAND FARMERS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD THAT

COME THERE FOR HANDS-ON TRAINING ON HOW THE GROW A DIFFERENT KIND OF WAY, NOT THE WAY OUR

GRANDPARENTS GREW BUT TO GROW VERY INTENSIVELY INSIDE GREENHOUSES.

>> Stephen: HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

COULD I DO THAT IN NEW YORK CITY IS?

>> ABSOLUTELY.

THERE ARE SOME FARMS, I VISITED ONE IN BATTERY PARK THIS MORNING

>> Stephen: HOW WILL HOWE DO YOU DOUGH THAT?

WITH A MILL AND A PLOW?

DETROIT IS SOME PRIMO REAL ESTATE...

(LAUGHTER) TO TEAR DOWN BUILDINGS ON AND PUT IN SOME FARMS YOU SAY

THERE'S A FOOD DESERT BUT THERE IS FOOD IN CITIES.

FOOD THAT'S VERY SALTY AND CRISPY.

THE BEST POSSIBLE KIND OF FOOD FOR YOU AND IT LASTS FOREVER.

(LAUGHTER) YOU CAN'T THEY ABOUT COAL RABB BI.

>> NO, NO, OF COURSE KOLRABE...

THAT WOULD BE A HARD SELL, OF COURSE.

>> Stephen: KOLRABE, CHIPS,

WON'T GET THE KIDS.

>> NO, NO.

>> Stephen: HOW MANY CITIES ARE YOU DOING THIS?

IN?

>> WELL, WE HAVE 17 NOW,

REGIONAL TRAINING CENTERS AROUND THE U.S. BUT WE WORK IN JUST ABOUT EVERY CITY ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

>> Stephen: IF SOMEBODY WANTS TO FIND OUT ABOUT THIS IS THERE A WEB SITE?

>> WE HAVE A Www.growingpower.org AND THERE ARE MANY ORGANIZATIONS,Z|FK

ESPECIALLY YOUTH-SERVING ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE TAKEN THE LEADS OVER IF-YEAR-OLD AND

HAS MOVED TO THE GOOD FOOD REVOLUTION.

>> WHAT'S THE BIGGEST ANIMAL YOU'RE GROWING?

>>

>> WE HAVE GOATS.

>> Stephen: WHAT DO THEY EAT?

>> WELL, THEY'LL EAT YOUR CLOTHES, YOUR CLOTHESLINES, ALL THE FLOWERS.

>> Stephen: REALLY.

>> YEAH, IF THEY CAME TO YOU YARD AND YOU TOLD ME ABOUT YOUR GARDEN I WOULD TAKE ABOUT TWO

MINUTES AND YOUR GARDEN WOULD BE GONE.

(LAUGHTER)

>> Stephen: PEOPLE... DID YOU THINK PEOPLE MAY HAVE MOVED TO THE CITY AND SAID I DO NOT MOVE

TO THE CITY TO HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT A GOAT EATING MY CLOTHING!

(LAUGHTER)

>> Stephen: WELL, ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS YOU HAVE TO DO IN THIS WORK IS ENGAGE YOUR COMMUNITY.

>> Stephen: DO PEOPLE COMPLAIN OR REALLY LIKE IT?

>> PEOPLE LIKE IT, WE'RE BUILDING THE FIRST OF IT KIND IN THE WORLD, A VERTICAL FARM.

>> Stephen: WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

>> A VERTICAL FARM IS STACKING GREENHOUSES ON TOP OF EACH OTHER TO GROW.

A CITY LIKE NEW YORK IN THE FUTURE BECAUSE OF POPULATION GROWTH AND CITIES LIKE SAN

FRANCISCO WE'LL THINK ABOUT HAVING FOOD IN SKYSCRAPERS.

>> Stephen: IN SAN FRANCISCO THEY'LL JUST BE GROWING WEED.

(LAUGHTER) MR. ALLEN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME.

THE BOOK IS "THE GOOD FOOD REVOLUTION." WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

THANK YOU, SIR.

Loading...