Board of Commissioners Biographies
Erika Allen is Chicago and National Projects Director for Growing Power and is headquartered in Chicago, IL. As the daughter of Will Allen, she has a small farm agricultural background and experience. She spent her formative years, involved in all aspects of farm management from transplanting seedlings to managing farm stands and farmer’s markets. Ms. Allen has received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and recently received her MA in art therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Years of experience working in urban communities with art education and social service have brought her full circle back to her farming roots. Integrating the creative and therapeutic techniques with food security and community development have enabled Ms. Allen to establish nine urban agriculture and food system projects in Chicago, IL. Her specialties include project planning, community food systems design and direct marketing training. Erika has provided technical assistance and planning support for thousands of new and limited resource farmers and local food pioneers to strengthen farm businesses. She actively works to create healthy and diverse food options in inner-urban city and rural communities. Ms. Allen was an awardee for the Chicago Tribune’s Good Eating Award in 2006 and was honored by Family Focus in 2007 for her work in community food systems. In 2009, Women’s Environmental Institute (WEI) honored Erika as a Mother of the Environment for Minneapolis/St. Paul. She is also a Post Carbon Institute Fellow. Erika served on the Illinois Food, Farms and Jobs Act Council appointed by Illinois Governor Quinn and most recently served on new Chicago Mayor - Rahm Emmanuel’s transition team – Energy, Environment and Public Space Committee. Erika was appointed as a Board Commissioner for the Chicago Park District. She is the proud mother of 4 year old son Ayokunle, a Yoruba name meaning “joy fills the home and world”.
Growing Power, Inc.
Chicago and National Projects Director
3333 S. Iron Street
Chicago, IL 60618