Growing Power

farmers market

Some people say knowledge is power. I say access to affordable, healthy food to grow your body and your brain is power.

There’s been a lot of talk about the sustainable food movement being elitist when so many people don’t have enough to eat.

Whether or not you believe that to be true, you should know there are organizations working to make sure that people in lower socio-economic classes, and those who live in neighborhoods without access to healthy, fresh foods aren’t left behind in the movement. One such organization is Growing Power.

Will Allen, former professional basketball player, onetime Proctor and Gamble marketing executive and 2008 McArthur Foundation Fellow has turned what started out as an urban farm in Milwaukee into a national non-profit program and land trust that helps communities obtain equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food.

Hands-on workshops, demonstrations and technical assistance teach people how to grow, distribute, and market food sustainably. The organization runs urban farms, community gardens, school gardens, farm-to-market distribution and farmers’ markets in both Milwaukee and Chicago.

Growing Power’s mission is to provide people with the skills to develop their own sustainable and affordable community-based food systems. The Milwaukee headquarters offers training to schools, universities, government agencies, farmers, activists and community members and the organization is now working with other organizations to establish Regional Outreach Training Centers. Nothing elitist about that.

The next time you find yourself feeling guilty about your organic arugula addiction, check out one of the non-profit member organizations of the Community Food Security Organization. There are members all over the country and they’d likely welcome your help or donation.

Image: Natalie Maynor

Vanessa Barrington

Vanessa Barrington is a San Francisco based writer and communications consultant specializing in environmental, social, and political issues in the food system.