Summary: Will Allen is a former professional basketball player (mostly in Europe) and business man (mostly in Wisconsin). This story is about how he turned unused green houses from a defunct florist into the basis for a national urban food movement: Growing Power.
Thoughts: I heard about this book when Will Allen was interviewed on the radio show To The Best of our Knowledge, Will Allen on Urban Farming. From that interview, I expected a book about food policy. What I got was so much more than that and touched on a surprising number of my interests:
- The Good Food Revolution is a memoir of an ordinary person doing extraordinary things — one of my favorite types of books. The stories are told well with lots of interesting characters that you come to care about because it’s so obvious that Allen cares about them.
- As a black author, Will Allen touches on a number of subjects that have come up in my Diversity Book Club but in a way that is very personal and accessible since it’s his story. When I present book suggestions for the book club at our annual selection meeting this month, I’ll get to tell them about this book that I’ve already read — I don’t think I’ve ever brought in a book that I read first.
- And, of course, it is a book about food but covering the topic in a way I haven’t seen because of the needs of his environment — a northern city. Everything has to be done in an intensive way due to space and an energy-efficient way due to cost. Although there are many challenges, it’s a hopeful book because he demonstrates that with experimentation and cooperation difficult problems can be solved. You get the feeling that if he can grow food with sustainable methods in Milwaukee, we can figure out how to do it just about anywhere.
Appeal: This will appeal most to anyone who has interests in sustainable agriculture or urban food needs, but it’s also a good choice for memoir fans and those interested in how race plays a role in every aspect of American culture and the ways we can work through and with that reality for the good of all.
Challenges: This is book 12 of 19 for the Foodies Read 2 challenge.
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