Creating Social Value Blog / Food

The College President who Turned a Football Field into a Farm

I knew Michael Sorrell before I met him.  I’d hear the news, back in 2010, that one extraordinary college president was leading Paul Quinn College to turn its football field into a farm, now called We Over Me Farm.

So when Babson President Len Schlesinger popped into Food Sol’s office last November, and told me that the man behind the transformation from sport to supper was right then sitting in his office, I was on my feet in an instant.

“That guy’s famous!” I near shrieked at Len who is, of course, ready for anything after 5 years with unleashed Babson entrepreneurs.

Meeting Michael with Len that day was just the start of the connections Food Sol and We Over Me Farm have been able to share.  For one, we introduced Michael to Babson alumnus Jeff Brown – an Entrepreneur Hall of Fame 2012 inductee – whose grocery retail innovations for low-income communities in Philadelphia are nothing short of mind-blowing.  (I wrote about Brown’s Superstores and its non-profit arm Uplift Solutions, if you’re interested.)

According to the New York Times in 2011, “Paul Quinn is also one of the community’s only sources of quality food.”  So help from Uplift Solutions, which partners with food insecure communities to teach its ways of designing and growing grocery retail innovations, will surely be welcome. And in fact, Paul Quinn College is working towards a formal engagement with Uplift Solutions.

Michael is a huge fan of Entrepreneurial Thought and Action™ and of Food Sol’s unique way of supporting food entrepreneurs of all kinds.  Last week, he was back at Babson for the Price Symposium and we had the chance to break bread together and share insights on our food journeys.

Any meal with such a creative and courageous food hero would (and did) taste delicious.