Hunter Lecture Series Welcomes Will Allen Feb. 26

Urban Farming Activist, MacArthur Genius Award Winner To Spend 2 Days Here

Monday, February 18, 2013
Will Allen
Will Allen

Urban farming activist and MacArthur “Genius” award-winner, Will Allen, will be the third speaker in the 2012-2013 George T. Hunter Lecture Series on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. at the UTC Fine Arts Center. 

As the founder and CEO of Growing Power, a two-acre urban farm in Milwaukee, Mr. Allen is transforming the cultivation, production, and delivery of healthy foods to under-served, urban populations. Growing Power produces thousands of pounds of healthy food each year for 10,000 people living in the surrounding low-income neighborhoods and provides training for residents to become community farmers.  

Mr. Allen’s new book, The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities, outlines how local food systems can strengthen the health and economy of communities across the nation. His lecture will be focused on the potential of community agriculture to provide fresh, safe, affordable and nutritious food to all people, regardless of their economic circumstances.

Now in its 5th year, The George T. Hunter Lecture Series is sponsored by the Benwood Foundation and UTC.  The lecture series has provided a way for the community to engage around issues affecting the Chattanooga region. Over the past four years, speakers have included have included Doris Kearns Goodwin, Malcolm Gladwell, Mayor Cory Booker, Michelle Rhee and Michael Pollan.

“We are very excited to host Will Allen at UTC,” said UTC interim Chancellor Grady Bogue. “He is a nationally recognized leader on urban agriculture and food policy. We believe that he will bring an important perspective for our campus as an engaged metropolitan university working to build a good economy and cultural partnerships with our community.” 

After a brief career in professional basketball and a number of years in corporate marketing at Procter & Gamble, Mr. Allen returned to his roots as a farmer, using his retirement package to purchase a plot of inner-city land with greenhouses, where he established an urban farm - the non-profit organization, Growing Power.  

At Growing Power and in community food projects across the nation and around the world, Mr. Allen promotes the belief that all people, regardless of their economic circumstances, should have access to fresh, safe, affordable and nutritious foods at all times. Using methods he has developed over a lifetime, Mr. Allen trains community members to become community farmers, assuring them a secure source of good food without regard to political or economic forces. 

In 2008, Mr. Allen was named a John D. and Katherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow, a “genius grant,” only the second farmer ever to be so honored. He is also a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, and in February 2010, he was invited to the White House to join First Lady Michelle Obama in launching “Let’s Move!”—her signature leadership program to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity in America. In May 2010, Time magazine named Mr. Allen to the Time 100 World’s Most Influential People.  In 2011, Mr. Allen was named one of the seven World’s Most Influential Foodies by Michael Pollan and Forbes Magazine. He received the 2012 NCAA Theodore Roosevelt award and was also honored with the NEA Security Benefit Corporation Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education award in 2012 for his work with children, teachers and schools. 

As part of his time in Chattanooga, he will be touring some of the local farms, meeting with community local food advocates, and speaking with local schools and students who have gardening programs of their own. These events will be co-sponsored by Gaining Ground, an initiative of the Benwood Foundation that is focused on promoting a thriving local food economy in the Chattanooga region.

“Chattanooga has a number of projects in place to improve the availability of healthy and locally grown food in Chattanooga’s food deserts, but there is still work to be done,” said Jeff Pfitzer, director of Gaining Ground.  “We are always looking for inspiration and new ideas to improve the health of our community and Will Allen’s visit provides a great opportunity to discuss the issues and learn from an accomplished community advocate and change-agent.”

This lecture is sponsored by the Benwood Foundation in partnership with UTC. All lectures are free and open to the public, no tickets necessary. The lecture begins at 7 p.m. and doors open at 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.benwood.org.


Hazlewood Supports Haslam Demand For Answers In Unaccompanied Minors

Republican Tennessee House candidate Patsy Hazlewood applauded Governor Bill Haslam's demand for answers of the Barack Obama Administration after data posted Thursday indicate that 760 unaccompanied illegal minors "have been released by the Office of Refugee Resettlement to sponsors in Tennessee." The Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families ... (click for more)

3rd Annual Affordable Botox SuperHero Race Benefitting Make-A-Wish East Tennessee Scheduled August 23

Responses to the second annual Affordable Botox Run for Wishes last September has prompted organizers to host a third event on Saturday, Make-A-Wish East Tennessee and the Chattanooga Track Club announced.  Make-A-Wish East Tennessee is partnering with the Chattanooga Track Club to help organize the event. Enterprise South Nature Park is the host location for the event ... (click for more)

23-Year-Old Stabbed To Death Early Sunday Morning

A man was stabbed to death in Chattanooga early Sunday morning. At approximately 2:48 a.m., Chattanooga Police responded to 2525 6 th  Avenue Court for a person stabbed.  Officers located a 23-year-old suffering from a stab wound to his chest.  The victim was transported to a local hospital where he later died from his injury.  The victim’s information ... (click for more)

Man, 21, Arrested In Hidden Camera Case

An arrest has been made in a case in which a hidden camera was apparently placed in several local restrooms. Chattanooga Police last Sunday, received from a citizen a hidden camera that apparently had been placed by an unknown suspect in the men’s restroom at the Chattanooga Billiards Club downtown.  The footage from the camera was reviewed by Investigators with the ... (click for more)

An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: O’Reilly’s Rant On Race

I don’t really care whether you like Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly but I strongly believe I must share an urgent transcript with you of what he said earlier this week. It’s been talked about on every network and it speaks boldly to the very heart of an American epidemic. Last weekend in Chicago 47 people were shot and five of them died. Black-on-black shootings have gotten ... (click for more)