A national icon in the world of agriculture visited La Crosse today. Will Allen, CEO of the Milwaukee-based initiative ‘Growing Power,’ toured the city to talk about the challenges facing today’s food system and to help launch a new partnership between three local organizations. Fox 25/48’s Erin O’Brien has more details about his visit.
It was a busy day for Will Allen, as he helped La Crosse celebrate the new “Get Growing” partnership between Hillview Urban Agriculture Center, Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare, and Western Technical College. In fact, it was Allen’s message from a visit to La Crosse five years ago that inspired this new partnership.
Allen: “I think one of the challenges that we have is to really educate folks about what our food system really is today. A lot of people really don’t know much about our food system.”
And that’s where the get growing partnership comes in.
“We’re going to be able to teach a lot of people how to grow their own vegetables and how to prepare those vegetables. We’ll be growing vegetables here that we’ll make available to food pantries and the people in need. And it’s going to benefit the next generation of urban agricultural experts.”
Today Allen joined the “Get Growing” partners to celebrate the new horticulture education center at Western Technical College.
Allen: “We need to grow more good food and people are demanding it. Wholesalers want it, local grocers, everybody, box stores, they want this local food, but there’s no one to do it.”
Will Allen says it’s up to local places like this, the horticulture education center at western technical college, to get young people interested in farming.
Allen also visited the Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare Washburn garden, vermicomposting center, and hoop house to see what La Crosse is already doing to keep food production local.
Teri Wildt: “It’s allowing people to use space in the city to produce healthy food they can consume. It keeps their cost down and it just keeps people eating healthy foods.”
Joe Klinge: “We modeled our organization after what Will’s doing in Milwaukee. We’re one and the same, we’re all kind of in this together trying to teach people how to keep their food system local. That will benefit not only our community, but it’ll spread throughout the world”
The mission of “Get Growing” is simple: good food, good health, and good community.