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Growing Power Founder Will Allen to Give Keynote Friday at St. Louis Fed "Harvesting Opportunity" Event


ST. LOUIS — Will Allen, urban farmer and founder of Growing Power Inc., will be the keynote luncheon speaker at a Dec. 1 event hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in conjunction with the release of the book, Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities.

"Harvesting Opportunity," published earlier this year by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, highlights models for collaboration between policymakers, practitioners and the financial community. It also discusses how addressing research, policy and resource gaps could contribute to the success of regional food systems strategies.

The St. Louis event will be held from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Bank.

Allen is a 2008 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world in 2010. He started Milwaukee, Wisc.-based Growing Power with the goal of transforming the cultivation, production and delivery of healthy foods to underserved urban populations through low-cost farming technologies.

Daniel Davis, St. Louis Fed community development officer, will give opening remarks, followed by Andrew Dumont, senior community development analyst with the Board, who will give an overview of the book.

Panels and participants will include:

 The Impact of Regional Food System Investments

  • James Forbes, co-founder and CEO, Good Life Growing
  • Mary Hendrickson, assistant professor of Rural Sociology, University of Missouri–Columbia
  • Lucas Signorelli, executive director, St. Louis Metro Market
  • Melissa Vatterott, food and farm director, Missouri Coalition for the Environment
  • Rebecca Kaufman, Strategy + Engagement, AgLaunch

Demand for Local Food

  • Debra Tropp, deputy director, local food research and development, Marketing Services Division, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service

Growing Businesses and Jobs Through Local Food

  • Sylvester Brown, founder and executive director, Sweet Potato Project
  • Gibron Jones, managing director, HOSCO (Holistic Organic Sustainable Cooperative) Foods
  • Mary Ostafi, executive director, Urban Harvest STL
  • Joel Walker, senior specialist, Global Farms, International Institute
  • Lisa Locke, senior community development specialist, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Deploying Capital to Build Regional Food Systems

  • Connie Bowen, program manager, The Yield Lab
  • David Desai-Ramirez, executive director-southern region, IFF
  • Timothy Hassler, principal, Advantage Capital
  • Gary Matteson, vice president—Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach, The Farm Credit Council
  • Sam Fiorello, chief operating officer and senior vice president, Administration and Finance, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

For more information, contact St. Louis Fed Media Coordinator Suzanne Jenkins at