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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 449

I was a reluctant inheritor of my agricultural history. It was a past that I spent most of my young life trying to escape.

This quote concludes the introductory section to Will Allen's memoir The Good Food Revolution , co-authored with Charles Wilson. In the introductory section, Will Allen mentions...

(The entire section contains 449 words.)

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I was a reluctant inheritor of my agricultural history. It was a past that I spent most of my young life trying to escape.

This quote concludes the introductory section to Will Allen's memoir The Good Food Revolution, co-authored with Charles Wilson. In the introductory section, Will Allen mentions his mother, Willie Mae Kenner, an aspiring teacher from South Carolina who was trained at a college founded for free slaves. Willie Mae was required to do agricultural work in order to earn a living and to provide food for her family. Though Willie Mae was resourceful and clever with growing techniques and food preservation, she wanted to follow her dream of becoming a teacher. Will Allen remembers feeling similarly to his mother when he was young and working the land as a child, which makes his career as a preeminent urban farmer so ironic.

I thought a career in professional basketball would allow me to be master of my own fate. In reality, I saw now how much I was subject to the whims of other men.

In this quote, Allen reveals his independent nature, as well as an ambition to live his life according to his own terms (and his disappointment when basketball did not deliver on this hope). As a young man with a talent and physique that set him on track for a career in professional basketball, Allen dreamed of playing a sport he loved and earning money at the same time; however, the politics of professional sports proved to be less straightforward. Allen's complaint that he was "subject to the whims of other men" foreshadows his later work as a farmer who is dependent on no one but himself, good weather, and good fortune.

The racial and economic divisions in Detroit have created two food systems: one for the haves and another for the have-nots. More than 90 percent of food stamps in Detroit are spent at what the food researcher Mari Gallagher calls "fringe retailers": liquor stores, party stores, gas stations, dollar stores, and the like.

This quote reveals Allen's awareness of food as a social justice issue. In Detroit, a city whose neighborhoods are organized according to stark racial divides, nutritious food is a resource that is not easily accessed by all of the city's residents. Allen understands this problem to be an opportunity for himself and for other community-minded farmers. In response to the problem, Allen made sure that his company, Growing Power, was able to offer knowledge and experience to urban farmers in Detroit. Allen soon developed a goal of creating a collection of techniques and approaches to growing food in urban environments that other groups could use in their own communities.

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