More a biography of Will Allen than a manual (of any kind) for growing food, this book is inspiring and shows that hope is out there for underserved communities.
The son of parents that fled the south and sharecropping for Maryland, Allen still grew up helping his dad in the garden. Though his mother never achieved her dreams of being a teacher, she did get to see her son go to the U of Miami to play basketball. And Allen has successfully leveraged all of his "failures" into a different form of success. With his NBA career stalled-to-over, he played 3 years in Belgium (and his wife and kids went along).
When the basketball part of his life was over and the family was settled near his wife's mother in Wisconsin, he took a sales job. And did his best and succeeded. When he got bored, he switched companies, and again did his best and succeeded. And when he realized what he really wanted to do, he went for it. Back to farming, but with the goal of bringing fresh food to the urban poor.
In the process he has been nearly broke, he has given people chances, he has made great friends, he was been named a McArthur fellow, he has gotten grants and even support from Walmart (which he accepted, because refusing money will not help those he is trying to help).
I really wonder if Allen and Joel Salatin have ever met. They are trying to do very different things, but I think they would each approve of the other's goals, and of the other's methods. Both share the closed-loop ideal.
Most importantly, Allen has successfully spread his knowledge and shared it with those doing similar things across the south and in Michigan. It is exciting, though the whole process moves so slowly.