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Will Allen
Will Allen

Will Allen

Growing Power

Milwaukee, WI US

"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."

Career Roadmap

Will's work combines: Food, Non-Profit Organizations, and Helping People

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Day In The Life


I'm an urban farmer and help transform communities by teaching people how to grow sustainable, healthy, affordable food.

Skills & Education

Here's the path I took:

  • High School

  • Bachelor's Degree

    Education, General

    University of Miami

Life & Career Milestones

My path in life has been direct

  • 1.

    He remembers two transformative moments in his life: the first is when he first touched a basketball.

  • 2.

    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.

  • 3.

    Luckily, he was good at the sport; when he graduated from high school, he had over one hundred scholarship offers.

  • 4.

    While he was playing in the American Basketball Association, one of his teammates invited him to help his family harvest potatoes on their farm.

  • 5.

    That became the second major transformative moment in Will's life: he knew he wanted to go back to farming.

  • 6.

    In 1993, he founded Growing Power, a nonprofit that starts local food systems in urban communities to improve job growth and public health.

  • 7.

    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."

  • 8.

    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.