US (WI): Growing Power founder Will Allen announces retirement

Growing Power founder and CEO Will Allen is retiring, leaving his urban farming nonprofit to alter course as it faces nearly a half-million dollars in pending legal judgments.

Allen, 68, confirmed Monday he will retire once Growing Power decides on, and announces, its future direction. Allen, also an author and "genius grant" winner, has become a national leader in the food revolution who travels the world teaching how to grow good community-based food.

"We haven't decided what's going to happen next," Allen said Monday. The redirection, he said, is necessary, in part, "because Growing Power ran into some financial issues."

Growing Power has eight pending judgments totaling $485,525, according to Circuit Court records. The claims were filed by a variety of parties, including the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, truck rental companies and a former landlord.

Additionally, Will Allen faces a $196,375 pending judgment filed by First Farmers Bank and Trust.

Filings with the Internal Revenue Service from 2012 through 2015 show the nonprofit running deficits each year, some years in excess of $2 million.

At its peak, Growing Power had nearly 150 employees, Allen said.

"It's less than that now, between Milwaukee and Chicago. It's a lot less than that now."

Read more at the Wisconsin State Farmer (Sarah Hauer)

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