Truth be told, Erika Allen didn’t love working on her family’s farm when she was a child. But her father, Will Allen, kept saying, “Someday you’ll thank me.” Years later, she says, “He was right.” After earning a master’s degree in art therapy and working for community arts programs in chicago, Allen changed direction. “I decided to help provide folks the tools to grow food and to create healthy, productive, and aesthetic spaces,” she says. In 2002, building upon her father’s work at Growing Power, a nonprofit he founded in Milwaukee to provide low-income communities access to healthy food, Allen opened a branch in Chicago. Today, she runs eight farm sites around the city and works as the national projects director. Allen and her team teach adults and at-risk youth how to grow food and create a sustainable food economy, selling the fruits of their labor at farmers’ markets around the city while composting refuse and providing resources and job training. Allen is sowing the seeds of a new life for thousands.