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Will Allen will give 2009 Sustainable Agriculture Lecture Nov. 9

October 23, 2009

Media Contacts:
Meg Ryan O'Donnell, 919.755.3804 (Office), 919.349.2901
Dr. Nancy Creamer, 919.515.9447
Dr. John O'Sullivan, 336.334.7957

Will Allen will give 2009 Sustainable Agriculture Lecture Nov. 9

Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power Inc. and recipient of a 2008 MacArthur Fellowship, will give the Center for Environmental Farming Systems' 2009 Sustainable Agriculture Lecture on Nov. 9 at N.C. State University's McKimmon Center.

Allen is widely recognized for his efforts to develop urban farming initiatives in Milwaukee and Chicago. He also was recently featured in the movie Fresh and has been the subject of numerous magazine articles.

"It is an honor to have Will Allen come to North Carolina to share his vision for providing sustainably raised food for urban consumers," said Nancy Creamer, director for the Center for Environmental Farming Systems. "Urban farming is one of the solutions that CEFS is looking at as we seek to build local food economies in North Carolina."

In the early 1990s, Allen envisioned a farm using low-input, sustainable practices and staffed by area teens who needed a place to work. From his vision came the two-acre Growing Power farm in downtown Milwaukee, which has been called an oasis. Through the years, this community partnership has grown to include the young, the elderly, farmers, producers and other professionals ranging from U.S. Department of Agriculture personnel to urban planners.

Today, Growing Power produces 159 different foods, including fruits, vegetables, animal forages, goats, ducks, bees, turkeys, as well as tilapia and Great Lakes perch produced in an aquaponic system designed and built by Allen. Growing Power has also established community gardens and school gardens in urban Chicago neighborhoods, helping address the issue of "urban food deserts" – areas where residents have limited access to fresh, affordable foods.

In 2008, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation recognized Allen for his work, naming him a 2008 MacArthur Fellow and describing him as an urban farmer "transforming the cultivation, production, and delivery of healthy foods to underserved, urban populations through a novel synthesis of low-cost farming technologies" The MacArthur Fellowships are often referred to as Genius Grants. Allen was featured in a July 2009 New York Times Magazine article, "Street Farmer," and in a February 2009 YES! Magazine article, "Growing Power in an Urban Food Desert."

Burt's Bees is the lead sponsor for Allen’s lecture. In addition to his address at N.C. State, he will deliver an Urban Community Lecture at 10:45 a.m. at the Goldsboro High School, Nov. 9 at 10:45 a.m. The public is invited to attend.

Will Allen Schedule of Events for Monday, Nov. 9, 2009
Urban Community Lecture
Big Change in Small Spaces: Growing Food Security, Food Justice and Future Leaders
10:45 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Wayne School of Engineering at Goldsboro High School (auditorium), 700 N. Herman St., Goldsboro. The event is free and open to the public.

Sustainable Agriculture Reception

5:30 to 6:45 p.m., E. Carroll Joyner Visitor Center, N.C. State University, 1210 Varsity Drive, Raleigh
Friends of CEFS members who have joined at the Guardian Level and higher will receive an invitation (for the member plus one guest) to attend a special reception honoring Will Allen. The Sustainable Agriculture Lecture will be held immediately following the reception (see below for lecture details). The reception will be catered by Chef Sarig Agasi of Zely & Ritz. The reception is sponsored by N.C. A&T State University Cooperative Extension Service.

Sustainable Agriculture Lecture
Steps to Successful Urban Farming
7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., McKimmon Center, N.C. State University, 1101 Gorman St., Raleigh
This event is free and open to the public, but open seating will be limited. Reserved seating is available to all Friends of CEFS members. To learn how to become a Friends of CEFS please visit the Friends of CEFS Web page at

Sponsorship opportunities are still available for these events. Please contact Nancy Creamer at or 919.515.9447.

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) was established in 1994 by North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. These partners work closely with state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations farmers and citizens to provide agricultural research, extension and education for North Carolina and beyond. CEFS is a national model for partnership, innovation and interdisciplinary cooperation. Visit

Growing Power is a national nonprofit organization and land trust supporting people from diverse backgrounds, and the environments in which they live, by helping to provide equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe and affordable food for people in all communities. Growing Power implements this mission by providing hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner. Visit

Written by Karen Rhodes

Posted by Natalie at October 23, 2009 11:13 AM