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Wallace Stegner Lectures - Will Allen, speaker

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Urban Agriculture Pioneer Will Allen Kicks Off POST’S 20th Annual Wallace Stegner Lectures


Will Allen, urban farming pioneer and national food policy leader, will open this year’s Wallace Stegner Lectures on February 11 with a talk at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. The evening kicks off the 20th anniversary of the series presented annually by Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST). Lecture speakers explore issues related to land, nature and the environment in honor of the late author and conservationist Wallace Stegner. Lectures begin at 8:00 p.m., followed by a book-signing and reception.


Will Allen started his career in the 1970s as a basketball player in the United States and Belgium. Retiring from sports at age 28, he joined Proctor & Gamble in marketing and sales. The son of a sharecropper, he eventually left corporate life to return to his roots in farming. He purchased a plot of inner-city land on the north side of Milwaukee, Wisc., which evolved into his current nonprofit, Growing Power.


As the group’s founder and CEO, Allen oversees an innovative urban farming program that trains community members to grow food using resources at hand. The program is now a model for worldwide efforts to provide nutritious food to all people, regardless of economic circumstances. In 2008, his creativity and influence in the urban agriculture and sustainable food movements earned Allen a “genius grant” from the John D. and Katherine T. McArthur Foundation. He helped launch First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” program and, in 2010, was named by Time Magazine as one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People.” In 2012, the National Education Association honored him for outstanding service to children, teachers and schools.


In celebration of the Wallace Stegner Lectures’ 20th anniversary and the evening’s agricultural theme, Blue House Farm, an organic grower on POST-protected land in Pescadero, has donated a yearlong CSA (community supported agriculture) membership for one lucky audience member. The winner will be randomly chosen at the Allen lecture on February 11 and must be present to win.


POST’s lecture series continues April 13 with a talk by best-selling author, journalist and Rolling Stone contributing editor Jeff Goodell. A native of Sunnyvale, Goodell covers environment issues for Rolling Stone and has written extensively about the energy industry as well as climate change. His latest book, How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate, will serve as the basis of his talk.


On May 13, author Cheryl Strayed rounds out the series with a talk inspired by her New York Times bestseller Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. The first selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, the book details Strayed’s 1,100-mile solo backpacking trek from California to Oregon as she recovered from personal tragedy.


For select series subscribers, a free bonus lecture on March 18 will feature distinguished author and New York Times reporter Tim Egan. The title of Egan’s talk is “The Urban Wild Miracle: Living with the Geography of Hope…Just Outside the City Door.” Stegner Circle and Patron-level subscribers are eligible for this special, intimate evening with the acclaimed author.


POST’s lecture series was named in honor of the late Wallace Stegner — Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, Stanford University professor and ardent spokesman for the West’s wild places. Jean and Ambassador Bill Lane generously provided underwriting for POST’s lecture series upon its launch in 1993, and Jean continues the tradition in memory of Bill, who died in 2010. Embarcadero Media—publisher of Palo Alto Weekly, Mountain View Voice, The Almanac and Palo Alto Online—serves as Media Sponsor, with additional Anniversary Sponsor Edible Silicon Valley. Underwriting for Allen’s lecture comes from Sand Hill Global Advisors, of Palo Alto, who have helped sponsor the series since its inception.


Series subscriptions are available for $325, $175 and $75 per person. To subscribe, call POST at(650) 854-7696 x310 or visit openspacetrust.org/lectures. Single tickets are $22 and can be ordered directly from the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts box office at (650) 903-6000 or at mvcpa.com. Proceeds from the series benefit POST’s land-saving work.

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