Just a year ago, an article in Medium touted Will Allen as “the Godfather of Urban Farming, Who’s Breeding the Next Generation of People to Feed the World.” Allen, who started urban farming in Milwaukee in 1993, then moved on to Chicago, ended up with his Growing Power organization involved in urban farming projects around the world. Along the way, Allen won a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2008 and was named one of Time Magazine’s 2010 Time 100.
This article was first published on The Uptake, December 30, 2017 with support from the New Economy Coalition. This post is part of a News Day series on Re-Visioning Farming.
Allen’s vision, and his non-profit corporations, focused on reimagining and rebuilding a food system in cities. Among its ambitious projects:
- aquaponic systems growing fish, watercress, and wheatgrass;
- rebuilding soil through composting and vermiculture, including collection of supermarket wastes and use of red worm composting to turn them into soil;
- increasing productivity with intensive cultivation of food plants on small plots of land;
- sparking a passion for farming in urban youth and teaching them job skills to land jobs in the sustainable farming and food system;
- growing mass quantities of high quality food and delivering it to people living in inner cities;
- modeling urban farming as a real and sustainable option for people around the world.
Then, in November 2017, Growing Power crashed. After years of running deficits and with more than half a million dollars in legal judgments against the organization, Allen resigned and the organization closed its doors. Continue reading
“A shadowy international mercenary and security firm” employed by Energy Transfer Partners sent undercover agents to infiltrate protest camps at Standing Rock, harvested information from social media, used aerial surveillance, and eavesdropped on radio communications. TigerSwan, which started life as a U.S. military and State Department contractor, also collaborated closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement to target protesters. Continue reading
As the Minnesota legislature rolls on toward its May 22 end-of-session deadline, bad bills keep on coming. Here’s a quick list of some of the worst. Call your legislators, conference committee members, and Governor Dayton to just say no to bad environmental legislation, private prisons, and protest penalties. Continue reading
Laws are like sausages: it’s better not to watch them being made. So goes a venerable quote that, like many venerable quotes, has disputed origins. The truth remains: sausage-making is a messy business, and so is legislating. As the 2017 Minnesota legislative session draws closer to its end, the sausage-making mess is on full and awful display. Continue reading
“It’s a good morning for Americans,” Congresswoman Betty McCollum told the Town Hall meeting on Saturday morning. She had flown back to St. Paul for the March 25 meeting after the defeat yesterday of the latest Republican attempt to kill Obamacare. And she was clear about how that happened: “The credit for the victory belongs to you — to the citizens, the millions and millions of citizens, because their engagement, their mobilization and their determination created an avalanche of opposition to President Trump’s health care bill.”
I missed getting my forehead smudged with ashes on Ash Wednesday, on the slushy, icy road out of the Twin Cities by sunrise. On Thursday, I walked out of the house into a cold sunrise, heading for the Lake Street Bridge and a different kind of smudging in another holy ritual. Continue reading
Berta Caceres paid the ultimate price – she was assassinated one year ago in Honduras, killed for her work for indigenous rights and environmental protection. On February 17, indigenous leader José Santos Sevilla was assassinated in his home — another martyr paying the ultimate price for defending indigenous rights and working for environmental justice. Santos Sevilla, reports Democracy Now, “was the leader of the indigenous Tolupan people, who are fighting to protect their ancestral lands from industrial mining and logging projects.” Continue reading
In Kansas, an anti-immigrant terrorist killed one man and shot two others this week. In Florida and in Texas, arsonists burned mosques in January and February. Dozens of Jewish Community Centers have received bomb threats over the past two months, and two Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized in the past week. In each case, people have responded, fighting back against terrorism and hate. We need to acknowledge the hatred and bigotry that exists in our country. We need to name these actions as terrorism. We also need to recognize the responses of Americans rejecting that terrorism. We need to insist that we are the majority, not the haters, not the bigots, not the terrorists. This is our country, and we will not let them take it away. Continue reading
While Washington hold center stage, Minnesota Republicans are trying to tie the hands of local governments, impose crippling costs on free speech and protest, and politicize redistricting in 2020. That makes it time to focus on St. Paul and start calling and contacting state legislators. Minnesota have already compromised on premium relief for health insurance. They might be more open to hearing voices of reason than their counterparts in Congress. Continue reading
Are you suffering from information overload illness? Does reading the news give you insomnia, heightened anxiety, indigestion, panic attacks, depression, migraines, or uncontrollable rage? If you suffer from any of these reactions, then here’s a four-step prescription that can help. Continue reading