Will Allen

I’ve traveled the country and have talked to folks from universities to communities, and people WANT to be a part of this. They really believe and they’re passionate about their food, because that’s the one thing that connects all of us. Everybody’s gotta eat food.

  • Name: Will Allen
  • Born: February 8, 1949
  • From: Rockville, Maryland
  • Education:  
  • Occupation: CEO and Owner of Growing Power
  • Known For: Growing Power, Co-authoring book The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People and Communities
  • Awards: MacArthur Fellowship Genius Award (2008)

Will Allen’s parents were sharecroppers in South Carolina until they moved to Rockville, Maryland, where Allen grew up. He was a high school state champion in basketball at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland. Allen played collegiately for the Miami Hurricanes at the University of Miami, where he was on a basketball scholarship. He was the first African-American to play basketball for the University of Miami. After touring Europe as a professional basketball player, Allen retired from basketball in 1977, when he was 28. Upon retirement, Allen moved to his wife Cynthia’s hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he returned to his roots and founded Growing Power, an urban farm for feeding and employing the youth in his community.

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