Will's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Full Circle

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Milwaukee, WI

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 11

WILL ALLEN

Founder/CEO
Growing Power

“How do you have enough energy to work 17 hours every day, seven days a week? You have to be passionate. You have to reach that point of passion where it doesn't matter. Hours? You don't count hours-they just fly by.”

INTERESTS:

Food Non-Profit Organizations

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Character Dedication Family Hard Work Money & Financial Security Opportunity Passion Transitions Community Determination Education Fulfillment Beliefs & Faith Simplicity Support & Encouragement

FOUNDATION:

Helping People

TAGS:

Africa, agriculture, eat, eating, energy, farm, food, high school, humanity, love, patience, professional basketball, racism, scholarship, school, sharecroppers, sharecropping, survival, sustainable, water

BIOGRAPHY:

  • He remembers two transformative moments in his life: the first is when he first touched a basketball.
  • Growing up on a farm, all he ever wanted to do as a child was to get out; he saw basketball as his escape route.
  • Luckily, he was good at the sport; when he graduated from high school, he had over one hundred scholarship offers.
  • While he was playing in the American Basketball Association, one of his teammates invited him to help his family harvest potatoes on their farm.
  • That became the second major transformative moment in Will's life: he knew he wanted to go back to farming.
  • In 1993, he founded Growing Power, a nonprofit that starts local food systems in urban communities to improve job growth and public health.
  • In 2008, he was awarded an esteemed MacArthur "Genius Grant" for his work; in 2010, he was one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People in America."
  • He was inspired by his mother, who used her limited disposable income to feed their family and friends; he extols the power of good food.

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