Erika Allen

Fellow, Community Food Systems

Food & Agriculture, Social Justice

Erika Allen is Chicago Projects Manager for Growing Power, a nationally acclaimed non-profit organization and land trust providing equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe, and affordable food, especially in disadvantaged communities. She helps food producers of limited resources strengthen their farm businesses and work in partnerships to create healthy and diverse food options in inner city and rural communities.

Erika and her father, Growing Power founder Will Allen, have recently received significant attention for their work, including a feature article in The New York Times Magazine. Erika is co-chair of the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council, and was appointed by Governor Pat Quinn in 2008 to the Illinois Local and Organic Food and Farm Task Force. In 2007 she was honored by Family Focus for her work in community food systems, and in 2006 she received the Good Eating Award from the Chicago Tribune. Erika has a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MA in art therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Erika Allen speaks at Carrot City in NYC

length: 2:25   credit: Growing Power   Nov 16, 2010

Post Carbon Fellow Erika Allen speaks on two innovations developing at Growing Power projects in Chicago and Milwaukee.


Our Food...Our Growing Power

length: 56:51   credit: zoom'ddownload   Feb 01, 2010

Post carbon Fellow Erika Allen, Chicago Projects Manager for Growing Power, a nationally acclaimed non-profit and land trust that provides equal access to healthy, high-quality, safe, and affordable food, joins ZOOM’D to explore the concept of “urban farming.” The goal is to convert vacant plots of land in underused parts of our cities into productive farms. As our population grows exponentially, our resources for growing food—including oil (for fuel), gas (for fertilizer), fresh water, and topsoil—are rapidly depleting around the world. How do we grow food-resilient communities, and how do we do this in disadvantaged communities? This conversation with Erika points to the potential at hand, with Chicago’s urban farming community as a model for the rest of the nation and world to consider. This episode begins a ZOOM’D focus on food and resilience, to be continued with a variety of topics over coming months.

Latest Publications

9 Global Experts Steer the Gulf Oil Spill Conversation into Fresh Waters

Erika Allen    May 20, 2010   

In an effort to broaden the conversation about the horrific Gulf Coast oil spill, nine Fellows of the Post Carbon Institute offer their perspectives on largely underreported aspects and outcomes of the disaster.   ERIKA … >>

FOOD: Growing Community Food Systems

Erika Allen    Sep 01, 2010   

EXCERPT: The idea of a community food system is much larger than just urban farming. It deals with everything, all the components that are needed to establish, maintain, and perpetually sustain a civilization. Urban … >>

The Post Carbon Reader

Erika Allen

How do population, water, energy, food, and climate issues impact one another? What can we do to address one problem without making the others worse? The Post Carbon Reader features essays by some of the world’s most … >>

press coverage

Erica Allen interviewed at the Chicago Sun-Times

Erika Allen  

Post Carbon Fellow Erica Allen was interviewed in the Chicago Sun-Times about her work creating community based food systems. From the article: I grew up on a 120-acre farm, scary farming, with no off-farm labor, meaning … >>