Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table

Readers to Eaters 2013. 32 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9780983661535 (hardcover)
9780983661580 (paperback)
Original language: English
Dewey: 630
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

layout, multimodal, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

The story begins around the Allen family’s bountiful dinner table—the results of hard work in their garden. Rhythmic turns of phrase recall oral storytelling: “He planned to quit on PLANTING, PICKING, PULLING WEEDS, leave those Maryland fields for basketball and white-shirt work.”

But Will eventually returns to farming, to try growing fresh food in the city. Simple sentences discuss composting and gardening hints: “He hung plant baskets from the ceiling. He grew greens in buckets, greens in rows.”

Stylish illustrations use artful line; colour is applied with expressive markings. One spread shows neighbourhood children lugging kitchen scraps, to create rich compost for Will’s soil. Another shows fish dancing from a vat, fed by water drained off a tray of sprouts. As the farm and the number of farmer-helpers grows, Will takes his ideas across America and overseas. One image shows hands raised, holding fresh food and gardening tools.

The combination of agricultural tips, human interest and Will’s inspirational vision makes a powerful story—and a convincing call to action. “‘We need fifty million more people growing food on porches, in pots, in side yards,’ he says.” Back material includes an afterword by Will Allen and an author’s note.

  •  

    As a group, discuss where the vegetables we eat come from. Who produces them, transports them, sells them? Use a class mind map to compile this information.

  •  

    Use a graphic organizer to chart the evolution of Will Allen’s growing project. What were his goals and the obstacles he overcame? Who were the people who supported him?

  •  

    Will’s projects have raised awareness, empowered city dwellers to become city farmers and produced great food. Research someone else who has contributed to improving our society with a healthy, creative and visionary project.

  •  

    As a group, explore who produces food in your area. What foods are produced and how? Use a class mind map to compile this information.

  •  Use a graphic organizer to show the progression of Will Allen’s growing project.
  •  

    Discuss how this project is helping different people in Allen’s area.

  •  

    Write about a person you know who cares about producing food. What are the production steps? Include the results and explain why it is important for this person to produce food.

  •  

    In small groups, consider whether you could create and maintain a full farm—including fruits, vegetables and livestock—in the middle of a city. If you believe it is possible, discuss everything you will need to make it happen. If you think it is not possible, discuss why not.

  •  As you read, pay attention to the words the author has capitalized entirely. Why do you think she did that?
  •  

    Create an ad promoting Will Allen’s urban farm. Be sure to mention what is required and all the benefits it provides.

  • To cooperate with others
  • To solve problems
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Science and Technology