We've been so excited about the release of Will Allen's new book (written with Charles Wilson), The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities, and today it is officially on sale. One day I'll write about the complicated on sale policies that publishers have, but not today. For today, it's all about Growing Power, it's impact on eating, and particularly on the Milwaukee area.
Over the years, we've seen in the bookstore world a number of books that have made us think differently about eating. Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation is one, and The Omnivore's Dilemma is another, and I'm just counting books I've personally read. What they have in common is a sort of attempt to change course from the factory farmed, processed food economy which has become the norm.
Will Allen's memoir-festo might not be news to Milwaukeeans, but many in the rest of the country might not be aware of how he's in the forefront of so many trends--urban agriculture, working with poorer neighborhoods to turn them away from processed foods and back to fresh, healthy eating. But we’re talking about a MacArthur Genius here so obviously some folks know.*
Will Allen’s interest in farming goes back many years. Like many African Americans, his family was once sharecroppers in the South. When he married, his wife’s family had farmland in Oak Creek, and when they settled back in Wisconsin after a not particularly illustrious career in basketball, he took this on as a side job, in between managing KFC restaurants for Marcus and being a paper products rep for Procter and Gamble. I found myself feeling particularly inspired after reading Allen's book, but also a bit lazy.
And that shapes one of the things that comes out of Allen’s journey. His experiences, as an athlete and a businessman, trained him to look out for opportunities and relationships. And while being a visionary, he’s also been a practical visionary. Growing Power partners have included Westlawn housing project and Kohls. How’s that for scope?
We’re hosting Will Allen’s first book talk for The Good Food Revolution on Saturday, May 12, 7 pm, at Boswell. Tickets are $5 and ticketproceeds will be donated to Growing Power. In addition, ticket holders will get 20% off the book. Tickets are available at our website. I thought we’d be sold out by now, but until today when the media launch begins, I don’t think folks outside the Boswell orbit even know there is a book. That will be soon remedied!
Oh, and just to make it a little more exciting, we’ll also have C-Span taping our event for Book TV. And I should note that our buyer Jason read the book too, and he even shops at Growing Powers stand. Alas, I haven't made a decent meal since 2009.
*Not Boswell’s MacArthur to appear at Boswell. Last year we hosted Peter Hessler.