In the year 1993 basketball legend (first African American to play basketball for the University of Miami) Will Allen, took the challenge of investing in urban agriculture within his hometown of Milauwakee.
Will Allen grew up on farms and upon retiring from basketball, begins to tell his tale about his vision and dream of urban agriculture and food security.
Will faced some financial and business related challenges as we he was trying to grow his dream. After a while his organization discontinued, but not before Will was able to empower the youth. Will also educated people about the significance of food ownership.
He created “Growing Power” an establishment and a movement that proves monumental within my own life currently.
We’re only six blocks away from Milwaukee’s largest public housing project,” Allen says. “When people drive by the street and they see the greenhouses on the front, they have no idea that we feed about 10,000 people just from this farm alone.” ~ Will Allen
Ever since 2006-2008, when I first started to learn about plants in my biology class I had a love for plants. I didn’t know how deep this love would be but it has continued and has grown like a seed.
It was either my 6th or 7th grade teacher who gave us the assignment of growing plants in class. We had different options, I don’t think we were given a choice of what plant we would grow. From what I remember it was randomly selected, we had to take care of the plant at it’s infant stage. We started off with the plant sprouts.
The sprouts were in napkins or plastic bags. I am wanting to remember whether we had to put them in napkins ourselves or not, but we were able to leave them in the sun. After a few weeks, I notice that these plants had been growing, my plant in particular started to grow more roots and this was life transformative for me.
I never had a pet within my household as a child, no fish, nothing only my parents my sister and me. Having my sister is a blessing but as a kid I wasn’t aware of how much a blessing she was to my life and how I could’ve spent more time with her. With this being said I didn’t know it at the time but I needed something that I could give love to. I was able to give this love to my plant, a spider plant.
Having the spider plant was an honor for me. I was experiencing science and nature everyday, this was exciting, never before had I had a drive to spend time with nature. This was also the first house plant that we had on purpose from what I remember so having this as a part of my class assignment gave me an excuse to have a plant in the house*.
I kept up with my spider plant for a while, it started off in a napkin, was in a cup with just water, and then eventually I potted it with soil. Later on the plant started to have plantings, little baby slider plants started to grow from the original plant which I called the mother plant!
This amused me so much, every time that I came home I had this opportunity to visit my plant, I learned about it by just being with it. It ended up leaving the house, I think my dad threw it away, but nevertheless a spark was ignited.
Years later I was apart of an agricultural product with some college peers called IM Nature, where we had a small indoor aquaponics system in our house as well as other plants growing. We had a master plan of building an even larger aquaponics system however due to my own personality and mental issues, I didn’t add as much energy and determination as my team members.
Eventually we dissolved but not without more excitement. There was a point in time when we were all together that I was able to meet a woman known as Peaches who gifted us with some plants of her own. We had lemongrass, parsley, thyme, rosemary, and some other plants gifted to us.
I got to experiment with beans and to see how they work, I even saw the pods forming in some of the beans. We had a chance to grow some watermelon, which didn’t fully develop but they definitely tried to take over the root system within the garden’s first yard. There was an issue that we encountered with the aquaponic tomato vs the tomato that we grew outside in the ground.
Seemed like our indoor aquaponic tomatoes were not receiving the necessary interaction that comes with birds, bees, butterflies and the sexual exchange that nature engages in. The indoor tomato plant itself was growing however the fruit would not develop. The outdoor plants grew and fruits were born, we had those standing tall on wooden stalks.
We had amazing compost with manure and some tall sunflower seeds that were growing. All in all the garden was a bit shotty, with plants in random places and no experience from it’s maintainers but we learned a lot from this experience.
My love for plants and gardening has only grown since I had these experiences, I am excited for what the future holds. Plants are amazing and we need them, not it’s for our consumption but we need them because Earth needs them and we need Earth.
This video will speak for itself.
Many thanks to Mr. Allen, his daughter, family, friends, partners, and associates. I appreciate seeing this indigenous man representing for our ancestors, inviting us to get back to nature and to take control of our destinies via the food that we put into our bodies.
Empowering youth through story and honest self reflection, more power, more love, more life.
#I Dream #I Cultivate #I Create
Nuk pu makeru, nuk pu nuk, khu Ami khu, Ashe.
Thank you for reading, thank you for your time, may there be everlasting peace be on earth.
*An interesting side note to this is that since this occured years later as an adult I still tried to get plants in my parents house lol. I have successfully added three to four plants in my parents house, and my auntie also gifted my amma with one. Great stuff auntie ❤️