Will Allen, farmer, founder and CEO of Growing Power Inc., is recognized as a preeminent practitioner of urban agriculture in America and throughout the world.
Will grew up on a small farm in Maryland, the second-youngest of six children of a sharecropper. Despite a strict rule of his father’s – no sports until all farm chores were done – he became a standout basketball player in high school and the first African-American scholarship athlete at the University of Miami. He eventually became the basketball team captain, and still holds a number of Miami Hurricanes records. Will graduated with a degree in education.
Will was drafted in both the National Basketball Association and the American Basketball Association. He played in the ABA for a year and then entered the European League, playing for Belgium.
While living in Belgium, Will reconnected with his farming roots. He observed the intensive methods used on small plots by local farmers, and began applying those methods in a garden where he grew food for his family and teammates.