Key strategies for building local food systems from Will Allen, CEO of Growing Power

“…what we at Growing Power think will help us to build a new food system that is just and fair; a food system that will guarantee that we all can have access to high quality food:

1. We must have access to land inside and outside cities to grow healthy sustainable food.
2. We must grow farmers. With the average age of farmers at over 65 years of age, we need new younger farmers, in addition to other food system workers. We must train these new farmers how to grow sustainable food.
3. We need strong leadership. Elder leaders must pass on leadership skills to this next group of young food system leaders.
4. We must create living wage jobs. There are hundreds of jobs that can be created in this industry.
5. We must grow soil. We have contaminated our soil throughout our country and the world. Diverting over 40% of food and animal waste along with carbon out of the landfills, we will be able to grow fertile soil.
6. We must educate the public, our youth, our politicos, corporations, and universities, (i.e. all of us), on the importance of building a strong food system.
7. We must have representation at the national level within the USDA, the primary grant source that serves urban and small farmers. We need advocates in place to assist us in securing more funding in the next farm bill that will help build the good food revolution.
8. We need to continue trainings to grow more aquaculture farmers. We currently work with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, School of Freshwater Sciences in order to produce and share our research.
9. We must continue our focus building the world’s first true vertical farm at Growing Power’s National Headquarters in Milwaukee. Vertical Farms will be necessary to feed an increased population where 75% of the world’s people will live in and around major cities.
10. Climate change will make growing inside controlled environmental spaces a must, i.e. greenhouses and hoop houses. We need to continue building that infrastructure.”

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