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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Common Read

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Join the Growing Food Revolution as we welcome Erika Allen, National Projects Director at Growing Power, Inc.Erika Allen Image

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

7:30 p.m. - CSU Ballroom

Will Allen began the Good Food Revolution when he founded the Milwaukee nonprofit Growing Power Inc. to provide healthy food access to low-income communities. His daughter, Erika, grew the vision by opening a branch in Chicago. Today, she works as the National Projects Director and runs eight farm sites around the city. Erika and her team teach adults and at-risk youth how to grow food and create a sustainable food economy. They sell the fruits of their labor at farmers’ markets around the city. Erika is sowing the seeds to advance the Good Food Revolution. 

book cover art for The Good Food Revolution

The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen

Will Allen left a successful business career and cashed in his retirement fund to purchase a two-acre plot just outside Milwaukee’s largest public housing project. He began providing healthy food to an area of the city that previously housed only convenience stores and fast-food restaurants. Allen eventually built one of the country’s most successful urban farms – a food and educational center that now produces enough produce and fish year-round to feed thousands. Allen’s organization, Growing Power, employs young people from the neighbouring housing project and community and shows how local food systems can bring about systemic change within a community.

Building Community

Our hope and intention is that anyone who is interested will join us in this campus and community common read.

The goal of the common read is to create community and conversation with our students, our families, and our community. All students, faculty, staff, families, and community members are welcome to join us in reading the book, participating in discussions, and attending events. We hope that some of the many Book Clubs in the area will choose the book; we hope that families will use it as a conversation piece as your son or daughter is preparing to leave home this summer; and we hope that our events and activities will lead to learning from each others' perspectives.

Common Read Activities 2015-2016

[PDF] Common Read Activities Poster - September 2015 (171 KiB)

[PDF] Common Read Activities (91 KiB) - Full list of activities for Fall Semester

On Campus

All students, faculty, staff, families, alumni, and community members are welcome to read the book over the summer prior to the start of the fall 2015 semester.  The book may be used in conjunction with some courses, and there will be a variety of evening events throughout the year.

  • Our Visiting Speaker: We will welcome Allen’s daughter, Erika, to our campus on November 10th and 11th. Erika is the National Projects Director in Growing Power’s Chicago office. We will host a series of events and community engagement initiatives leading up to her visit.
  • Related Courses: Minnesota State University Professor Dr. Angela Jill Cooley is teaching a fall class in conjuction with the 2015 Common Read entitled "HIST 430-02: Food and Labor in the 20th Century" (Tuesdays and Thursdays 9 to 10). The course ID is 005784.

Keep checking back as we add additional event details. Please keep in mind that these events are designed to be enlightening for even those who haven't yet read the book.


Join us on Facebook!

  • Engage in online discussions, get event updates, and be the first to know the book for next year!

Check out Growing Power!

 Get email updates!

  • Contact Monika Antonelli at (507) 389-2507 or with your name and email address to receive occasional email updates.

Get Involved

If your book club, organization, or group of friends is planning to read the Common Read, first-year Honors students are available to lead your group in a community conversation about the book and issues related to it. Contact Ginny Walters, Honors Program Assistant Director, at (507) 389-1262 or if you would like Honors students to lead a book discussion!

If you have an idea for a future common read book, want to help plan an event, or have other ideas, contact Monika Antonelli at (507) 389-2507 or

The Good Food Revolution Resources

Where to Find the Book

The book is available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book formats from online and local retailers, including the on-campus Barnes and Noble Bookstore, the Memorial Library and local libraries.

Good Reads from Previous Years

  • 2014 Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody
  • 2013  Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder
  • 2012  The Unforgiving Minute by Craig Mullaney
  • 2011 This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, edited by Dan Gediman and Jay Allison
  • 2010 Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson 

 Program Funding Sponsors and Partners

  • Academic Affairs
  • Barnes and Noble Bookstore
  • Honors Program
  • Institutional Diversity
  • Learning Communities
  • Library Services
  • Maverick Video Productions
  • New Student & Family Programs
  • Printing Services
  • Strategic Partnerships
  • Student Affairs
  • University Fellowships


Minnesota State Mankato Common Read