Urban Agriculture Leader, Will Allen, Named MacArthur Genius

Will Allen Photo

Will Allen fishing for tilapia by cpentecost via flickr

Earlier this year, Sami recognized the good work of the organization Growing Power. The John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation took the praise one step further and named the organization's co-founder and CEO as a "MacArthur Genius". Will Allen is one of over two dozen recipients - including doctors, scientists and artists - of the foundation's $500,000 no strings attached fellowship award for 2008.

Check out the foundation's video about Allen and why he was chosen for the award after the jump.

The MacArthur Foundation points to Allen's practical solution to inner city hunger as the reason he was chosen for the award.

Rather than embracing the "back to the land" approach promoted by many within the sustainable agriculture movement, Allen's holistic farming model incorporates both cultivating foodstuffs and designing food distribution networks in an urban setting. Through a novel synthesis of a variety of low-cost farming technologies — including use of raised beds, aquaculture, vermiculture, and heating greenhouses through composting — Growing Power produces vast amounts of food year-round at its main farming site, two acres of land located within Milwaukee's city limits.

While Allen is well known in the sustainable agriculture world, this award has brought increased attention to his work. Good Morning America ran a story on his work in acknowledgment of his prize. The story was rebroadcast on Planet Green's Focus Earth. It's great to see Allen's innovative, small scale, low input food system design being recognized as an effective solution.

John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Growing Power
More on innovative urban agriculture
The Urban Aquaculture Center: Aquaponics Goes Big
Pasona O2: Urban Underground Farming
Vertical (Diagonal?) Farm from Work AC in NYC
Eating Locally: Backyard Chickens

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