First Chapter Freshman Reading Program

Plant Seeds. Cultivate Justice. Our global food system is in crisis. Our national resources are depleted. Local communities feel the impact, with unequal access to food, well-being and power. This year-long program explores how communities are creating innovative, from-the-ground solutions, changing policy, and growing hope. Find out what YOU can do to be a part of these efforts and create change.

Welcome to The George Washington University, Class of 2018!

We’d like to introduce you to the First Chapter freshman reading program–an important tradition at GWU since 2006. As our newest Colonials, you’re invited to read, reflect on, and discuss a common book between Colonial Inauguration and your arrival on campus this fall. Throughout the academic year, there will be many events and opportunities to further engage with the freshman reading book and your fellow members of the Class of 2018.

Will Allen 600 x 495 credit Joe Picciolo

photo by Joe Picciolo

This year, the Class of 2018 is asked to read The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen.

“The son of a sharecropper, Will Allen had no intention of ever becoming a farmer himself. But after years in professional basketball and as an executive for Kentucky Fried Chicken and Procter & Gamble, Allen cashed in his retirement fund for a two-acre plot a half mile away from Milwaukee’s largest public housing project. The area was a food desert with only convenience stores and fast-food restaurants to serve the needs of local residents.

In the face of financial challenges and daunting odds, Allen built the country’s preeminent urban farm—a food and educational center that now produces enough vegetables and fish year-round to feed thousands of people. Employing young people from the neighboring housing project and community, Growing Power has sought to prove that local food systems can help troubled youths, dismantle racism, create jobs, bring urban and rural communities closer together, and improve public health. Today, Allen’s organization helps develop community food systems across the country.

An eco-classic in the making, The Good Food Revolution is the story of Will’s personal journey, the lives he has touched, and a grassroots movement that is changing the way our nation eats.”

Concepts in the book include:

  • sustainability
  • food justice
  • urban development
  • agricultural policies
  • U.S. history
  • social entrepreneurship
  • community activism
  • racial, gendered & socio-economic factors of food access

We’re excited for you to join us as we discuss Allen’s compelling argument for a food revolution. Complimentary copies of the book will be distributed to all incoming students at Colonial Inauguration this summer.

For updates and information throughout the summer, follow us on Twitter @GWFirstChapter and like us on Facebook!