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Common Reading 2013

The Good Food Revolution - Will Allen

Good Food Revolution

Food--we all eat it and we all enjoy it, but we don’t always know where it is coming from or if it is good for us. As the world’s population expands to over 7 billion people, some people are questioning how we can feed so many people on a planet with limited resources. Over the last several decacdes in the United States, we have seen losses of family farms and greater reliance on factory farming and corporatized agricultural operations. At the same time, we have seen greater health related impacts associated with food such as obesity and diabetes. In addition, massive outbreaks of e coli infections from contaminated meats and vegetables have called into question the safety of the American food system.

Will Allen’s book,The Good Food Revolution, written with Charles Wilson, takes us into the life of a modern American Farmer—one based in a most unlikely place—urbanized Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The book details Allen’s life as the son of South Carolina Sharecroppers and how he transitioned from professional basketball player to executive, to urban farmer. His work, awarded with a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant, demonstrates how unused land in cities can be transformed into agricultural landscapes. Allen raises urgent questions about the future of agriculture in America and the world.

As you read this book, think about the following questions, which we will explore, along with other related topics, in our model class:

  • What is the impact of the modern agricultural system on the environment?
  • Why are abandoned areas of cities good places to develop agricultural enterprises?
  • How has agriculture changed in your community over the last several years?
  • Where does your food come from?
  • What are the basic requirements for growing crops in cities or suburbs?
  • How did Will Allen’s farm impact the surrounding community?
Join the Discussion
Common Reading Essay Contest
Register for the Fall 2013 First Year Seminar in Sustainability