Jesse Herrera is founder and chief visionary of Urban Theory (http://utheory.net), which I'd categorize as a “think tank” and an “act tank” for social and economic and environmental justice.
Or as Jesse puts it, an “innovation lab” to prototype and scale solutions to urban poverty.
Their projects include finding solutions to college homelessness, as well as food and economic insecurity.
Jesse is a former gang member, as well as a recovering architecture student. An urban planner.
A visionary realist in the lineage of his mentor Muhammad Yunus, creator of the Grameen Bank.
Jesse and I met at the World Healthcare Congress this past May, and immediately bonded by nerding out over sustainable small-plot agricultural tools and strategies, such as 2-wheel Italian tractors and compost tea.
And discovered that our missions aligned. I work with individuals and organizations, while Jesse targets cities and communities.
While there's no shortage of “good ideas” and “well-meaning programs” for dealing with pressing social issues, there's a real scarcity of battle-tested R&D to figure out what actually works, and how those gems can be scaled. Jesse and his team at Urban Theory are changing that.
His passionate vision and clear-headed appraisal of obstacles and opportunities makes for an inspiring conversation.
Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box or audio recording box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.
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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
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