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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 470

Will Allen

The author of The Good Food Revolution and the CEO of Growing Power, Will Allen combines family history with insight earned from his various careers to describe what healthy food can look like for all Americans. Allen's journey is an inspirational one; he writes about everything he has...

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Will Allen

The author of The Good Food Revolution and the CEO of Growing Power, Will Allen combines family history with insight earned from his various careers to describe what healthy food can look like for all Americans. Allen's journey is an inspirational one; he writes about everything he has learned from playing professional basketball to being a partner in an interracial marriage to revisiting his own past to agriculture. Allen's commitment to helping others learn about and apply various farming traditions to their own communities is perhaps the most compelling message of the entire book.

Willie Mae Kenner

Allen’s mother, Willie Mae Kenner, grew up in South Carolina, and she dreamed of being a teacher after working for her degree from a two-year college for freed slaves. She valued education but was unable to work as a teacher; instead she had to work the land to make a living and to feed her family. She moved with her first husband, James Kenner, to Kensington, Maryland; here, she met O. W. Allen, Allen’s father. His mother taught Allen everything he now teaches others about growing and preparing healthy and nutritious food.

O. W. Allen

O.W., Allen’s father, taught Allen and his brothers how to fish and to hunt. Together, the whole family grew vegetables that the family enjoyed at every meal, every month of the year. As the leader of the Allen family, O. W. demonstrated how to be strong and work hard. From his father, Allen has learned the power of a strong work ethic.

Cyndy Bussler

Cyndy Bussler, Allen's wife, also attended the University of Miami in Florida, and there, she and Allen met and fell in love. She is from Wisconsin, where her disapproving parents lived. After they married, Allen and Cyndy had three children: Erika, Adrianna, and Jason. After Allen's brief basketball career in Belgium, the family settled in Wisconsin, near Cyndy’s family, and her parents eventually accepted Allen and valued him as a member of their extended family.

Karen Parker

Karen Parker, Allen’s loyal employee, struggled to raise her children, DeShell and DeShawn, as she faced tragedy after tragedy. Karen's children grew up to become contributors to Allen’s urban farm. Allen offered Karen and her family stability and support, so when DeShell and DeShawn also started working for Allen, his story became a family story for the Parkers.

Hope Finkelstein

Hope decided that she wanted to work with Allen after she toured his greenhouses in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a community-minded citizen of Madison, Wisconsin, Hope sought to partner with Allen, and eventually, their team became Growing Power. When her children were little, Hope left the Midwest for Anchorage, Alaska, and at the same time, she left Allen and Growing Power. Hope continues to visit whenever she is able.

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